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Faith's Firm Foundation: May 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

Spanking (Part 3): Child-Training Advice from An Older Woman on Timely Tips on Tuesday

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Child-Training is a marathon, not a sprint.  I am always amazed at the influence of a mom in her home.  You cannot underestimate it.  Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare?  Slow and steady wins the race.  Faithful and firm.  Of course, we all have our good days and our not-so-good days.  In the day-to-day orchestra of family life and Homeschooling, it's common for a parent to be directing one child and then another, while focusing on their individual issues and crises.  Sickness, travel, work and family schedules make flexibility mandatory.  We must, however, keep a balanced sound in the orchestra of life, and not let one or the other child begin playing whatever they want, "doing their own thing,"  unchecked.  That produces a chaotic, discordant noise, instead of beautiful harmonious music.


If that happens, we have to stop everything and start over, and get back in time and tune with one another.  We have to correct the wrong notes, make sure everyone understands what they're supposed to be doing, and then start again.  And we have to keep our eyes on the Director, keeping the overall piece of music in mind, not just one instrument's part.  


Time To Get Back On Track
It's easy to slack off, and all of a sudden see the signs that you haven't been as consistent as you need to be in administering discipline at the first sign of disobedience or un-Christlike attitudes.  Signs such as disobedient children, strife, anger, backtalk, resistance to authority, temper tantrums, selfishness, hitting, crying and...whining.  You find yourself going nose-to-nose with a three-year-old.  You find yourself "needing to get away."  Where peace reigned, sibling rivalry raises its ugly head.  Where smiles and laughter were echoing through your home, now surliness, complaining and discontentment hang in the air, like a bad air freshener.  What on earth is going on?  What should you do?


Well, you all ask forgiveness, and start over. That's what's called, "Living the Christian life."  You pray together and read the Word, looking to God to show you those passages which talk about the sin and its consequences that you're seeing!  Consequences such as unhappiness, being out of fellowship with parents and brothers and sisters, and feeling a general lack of love in the home.  You share and memorize applicable verses.  You talk seriously, at the level of each child, about sin.  And then you let them know the "rules" again.  And the consequences for breaking them. (You know, you might want to write the rules and consequences down--so you know what you told them--and post it in a prominent place.)


Ideally, you will not let it go too long between "check-ups" where you evaluate how you're doing as a parent, and examine hearts for bad attitudes and disobedience.  Are you being consistent?  Are you delivering discipline with love?  Are you taking enough time to re-establish oneness with the child and have a time of restoration after spanking them?  Have you shown them the heart attitude that was behind what they did and what God says about it?


It's More Important Than Anything (Almost)
This all takes time.  I know.  I had to come to the place where I saw this as the most important thing I did all day.  Character training was more important than getting school done.  Character training was more important than getting the laundry done.  Character training was more important than anything!  It wasn't going to matter if they could read well, write a great paragraph or knew their times tables backwards and forwards (and it sure wasn't going to matter if we finished the book on time) if the character of that child was bad.  If they didn't love the Lord and want to obey His Word.


If I wasn't raising my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, (as best I could with God's help) then I was not doing my job as a mom.  Hard, oh yes.  Seemingly impossible at times?  Yep.  Lots of confession on my part to God for the bad example I often saw I was being to my children.  We went through some very long "training" days, lots of tears on both mom's and child's part.  Crying out to God in prayer.  Praying and searching the Bible.  I remember those times.  Not easy.  But worth it.


A Child's Tender Conscience
Your children want to feel loved and their consciences need cleansing.  They need to be disciplined when they've done wrong.  God has put a sense of justice in their hearts, and when they "get away with it," it goes against that sense of justice.  They feel out-of-sorts.  They will often act up to get attention, and do unexplainably naughty things, and you'll wonder, "What in the world?  He knows better than that."  They can't explain it, but they're just not happy.  They need a spanking.


Some mothers have told me of their child coming to them and begging for a spanking. (This never happened to me.)  The child felt guilty for doing wrong, and even though the mother had no knowledge of the transgression, the child's tender conscience couldn't stand it, and they weren't going to be happy again until they'd received the just reward they knew they deserved.


A Mom's Example
Asking forgiveness of our children teaches much about forgiveness, and what we should do when we mess up.  It creates an atmosphere of openness and communication between you and your children.  They see you're not perfect and that you, too, need to ask God and others for forgiveness.  Your humility and their granting you forgiveness will soften their hearts, break down walls between you that have been built up, and be the example they need to see and follow.


You aren't perfect, and neither are they.  How grateful the process of child-training makes me for my Loving Heavenly Father and the abundant grace and mercy He showers on me.
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

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I always think I know myself so well, full of firm faith, believer in prayer, encouraging others, marching onward!  So I'm always surprised when I've been blind to something.  Especially this.  Recently, God had me hop up on the examining table.  It was like looking down upon an operating table from above--as though it were someone else's body.  He shone His light down into my heart, searching and as, together, we peered, He said,


"There, do you see it?"


Though my eyes squinted to see what He wanted me to see, I was blinded to it, so I asked,


"What is it, Lord?"


He looked at me.  His look was tender, and drew me to look deeper with Him to see what it was He saw.
Wide-eyed, I looked deep within my heart.  Finally, I saw it:  a wide band.  It was wrapped 'round and 'round my heart.  Constricting.  Tighter and tighter.


"Lord?  That can't be...it isn't...Worry?  Fear?  But...I'm not a 'worrier'!"

Once diagnosed, it took no time until God had faithfully performed the surgery needed.  There were actually several bands, each one relatively small, but left unchecked, had been able to be woven together into one large band.


"The patient" is recovering, taking the prescribed doses of love, faith and hope, ("Perfect love casts out fear") applying prayer and supplication (Philippians 4:6) with the salve of thanksgiving, daily as needed.  God is so loving and kind.
"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth
take heed lest he fall.
There hath no temptation taken you
but such as is common to man:
but God is faithful,
who will not suffer you to be
tempted above that ye are able;
but will with the temptation also make
a way to escape,
that ye may be able to bear it."
1 Corinthians 10:12-13


He fed my heart the food of friendship on earth, and let me walk with Him and talk with Him and pour out my heart to Him.  The Great Physician humbled me so that grace could be poured out, removed what pride, envy, bitterness, or other impurities were clogging the arteries enabling the blood to flow, and revived my sin-sick heart.


"My soul, wait thou only upon God;
for my expectation is from him.
 He only is my rock and my salvation:
he is my defence; I shall not be moved.
 In God is my salvation and my glory:
the rock of my strength, and my refuge,
is in God.
 Trust in him at all times; ye people,
pour out your heart before him:
God is a refuge for us. Selah."
Psalm 62:5-8

"What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee."
Psalm 56:3
Encouragement comes in many forms.  How did God encourage you this past week or weekend?
Please leave a comment or link up your post on Mondays Are G.R.E.A.T.!
(I am Glad, Rejoicing, Encouraged and Thankful!)

Are you anxious or worried about anything?  Take it to the Lord in prayer.  There is none like Him, Who is so faithful.  He will hear you when you call and answer your faintest cry.  You are not alone.

"Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes courage is the
 quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
'I will try again tomorrow.'"

Mary Anne Radmacher


Today is Memorial Day, and as we remember those who have fought and sacrificed their very lives for our freedoms, I am reminded of this quote,
"Courage is not the absence of fear,
but rather the judgment that
something else is more important than fear." 
Ambrose Redmoon
We honor you today.
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Grilling Recipes on Food Friday: Inside-Out Burgers For Your Holiday Picnic

4th of July Picnic


Are you getting ready for a Memorial Day Picnic?  I have great memories of summer picnics from my childhood.  Read my post on a Minnesota Memory Picnic Supper--I guarantee it'll make your mouth water!


If you're gearing up for a weekend of get-togethers with family and friends, or searching for simple suppers for your family, grilling recipes are a great idea.  Grilling conjures up in my mind a picture of a relaxed group of people enjoying laughter, good food, and a beautiful day on a deck or patio, or in the backyard.  I love showing hospitality, but I admit that it sometimes can feel like too much work.  Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances, like being in the middle of a remodeling project, which make it impossible to host anyone inside. (Speaking of our remodeling, they say it always gets worse before it gets better, and I guess that is true.  I will have more photos next week, including photos of our our wood floor which partially was installed today.)


So, if you feel that your heart of hospitality needs heating up, grilling may be for you.  Host your next gathering outdoors and grill up some great memories.


May I fan the flame of your creativity?  Why not start by inviting your guests to come for a casual supper, and grill Inside-Out burgers. (You'll find the recipe below.)  Ask your guests to bring a big salad; serve watermelon, fresh veggies with dip, and chips to go with your burgers.
Ice cold lemonade is such a treat on a really hot day, isn't it?  Though we aren't experiencing hot weather yet, it's still a favorite.  Have a pitcher available and ready to put in chilled glasses.  (Just pop the glasses in the freezer for a short time, and they'll be refreshingly cold!)


For dessert, try this recipe for a dessert that's delicious and extremely easy: recipe for Chocolate Peanut Grahams.


Sit outside to eat:  on blankets in the grass, or lawnchairs on the patio or deck, or at the picnic table.  Forget the fancy dishes--use paper plates.  (Chinet holds up best without buckling or flopping over.)


While supper is cooking, and after you've eaten, play outdoor games such as bocce ball, croquet, badminton, or volleyball or just sit and visit, enjoying the beauty of God's creation.


There you have the ingredients for a lovely evening without a lot of fuss.
Chocolate Peanut Grahams
The following recipe for Inside-Out Burgers is sure to become a new grilling favorite!  (Do you have non-pickle-lovers in your family?  Don't worry.  I am not a huge fan of pickles myself, but the flavor is not strong, and neither is the crunch. It's very subtle, just adding yumminess.)  These are some of the best burgers.


Recipe for Inside-Out Burgers
Serves:  8
Ingredients:
2 lb ground beef
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
24 bread and butter pickles
1/2 cup BBQ (barbecue) sauce
8 hamburger buns


Directions:
  • Divide beef into 16 portions.  Shape each portion into a 1/2-inch thick patty.
  • Place 2 tablespoons cheese and 3 pickle slices in centers of 8 patties.
  • Top with remaining 8 patties; Pinch to seal.
To Grill:
Place filled patties directly above medium coals.  Grill, uncovered, until desired doneness.  (Allow 10 minutes for medium and 12 minutes for well-done.)  Turn and brush often with barbecue sauce.  Place patties on buns.
On open gas grill, sear over medium to medium-high heat, then switch over to low to medium heat on other side of the grill until done.
Enjoy!


I hope you have a great weekend with friends and family and also remember those who have sacrificed so much, including their very lives, so that we might be free.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hidden and Safe on Thankful Thursday

Firm Faith Needed
Lessons learned through remodeling continue to abound.  A faith firmly planted on God's Word is indispensable at times like this.  The mess is making me feel a little overwhelmed.  But, I know this "trial" is meant to teach me something. 


Redoing all the flooring on the whole main level of our home at one time might have been a little too much, though.


Reading my Bible this morning, I chewed on each verse and savored the meaning of one of my very favorite Psalms, Psalm 27.


For in the time of trouble
he shall hide me in his pavilion:
in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me;
he shall set me up upon a rock...
therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy;
I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.
Psalm 27:5, 6


Now, I realize that this isn't really "trouble."  (Read this post, if you are going through a real trial.)  It's not like when I had cancer or anything.  But, sometimes blessings are more difficult "trials," because we think we should be "just fine."  In any case...


I am hidden.  Hidden away from harm.  I picture a turret (something like what Rapunzel must have lived in) within a fortress or castle.  Within that fortress, there is a tabernacle, and in that tabernacle, His tabernacle, I will be singing praises.


Throughout the day today my thoughts kept returning to that verse, and I would tell myself, "I am hidden away in His pavilion." And pondering the precious promise that I was ...safe.  Guarded.


It's easy to think when trials come, "I just have to get through this."  I don't want to just "get through" this project.  I want to ride high above the storm where all is calm.  It's not only this project.  There are 3 or 4 big things going on in my life--remodeling is only one of them--and that's about 2 too many.  Like a computer, when there are too many things required of my brain at once, it locks up.


Yesterday, my brain locked up.  Today was a better day, because of bathing my brain (and soul) with the promises of God.


It reminded me of John 15:7:
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you,
ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit;
so shall ye be my disciples.
My deepest desire is that I will bear much fruit and be truly His disciple.

Visit Laurie at Women Taking a Stand to read other thankful hearts. Thanks, Laurie, for hosting this month!

Just on a side note, I'm hoping to be able to post my own videos on my blog in the future!  I've been not only learning heart lessons from the Lord, I've been learning new skills.  Today I learned how to edit a video using Windows Live Movie Maker.  Just the basics.  But I did it.  I don't know if I will post that one, but I have an idea for another one that I will definitely post.  So, be looking for a video soon!
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spanking (Part 2): Child-Training Advice from An Older Woman on Timely Tips on Tuesday


This is Part 2 of a series on Spanking.  Yes, controversial stuff.  I have strong opinions on the subject.  But, I believe they are also Biblical.  If you see anything I have said that contradicts Scripture, please (lovingly) tell me.  I'll be posting for awhile on this subject as part of my "Timely Tips on Tuesday" theme, so be sure to check in every week.  Please also go back and read "Spanking (Part 1):  Child-Training Advice from An Older Woman," if you haven't already done so, for the beginning of this series.


You may not be ready for the delightful change you are about to experience.  The atmosphere of your home will become quite peaceful and joyful. Being a happy mom will be such a joy to you!


Safe and Secure
In our home, our children began to act more loving to me.  There was a contented, secure, peaceful happiness about them.  They were more creative in their play, got along better with each other, and generally appeared to feel very safe and secure.  Children are not happy when they are being disobedient, and when they know that mom and dad are unhappy with them!

Our children responded positively to knowing what was expected of them and what would happen when they disobeyed or had a bad attitude.  Being consistent in disciplining both actions and attitudes was the means for teaching them what to do with their sin, and how to change, because we talked about the attitudes and character that they were displaying and what the Bible has to say about bitterness, anger, slothfulness, dishonor, disobedience, and more.  These are all heart issues. (One resource we used was Proverbs for Parenting.)


Because I was staying calm during the conflict, we could have conversations in which I could share Bible verses with them, admit my own failures and sin in the same areas they were struggling in, and help them see how to deal with heart issues in a Biblical way.  I was free from the guilt of responding in anger, so I could train them in righteousness.  A significant factor was that their spirits didn't become closed and their hearts hardened by my anger.  This allowed them to be open to the Holy Spirit.  Their consciences remained sensitive or became that way again, and their hearts became more and more tender.


Children enjoy being happy and obedient, which is the peaceful fruit of righteousness which results from receiving Biblical chastening.

For the wrath of man
worketh not the righteousness of God.
James 1:20

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Hebrews 12:11
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

10 Tips To Make Mornings More Manageable on "Mondays Are G.R.E.A.T.!"

I have a new button for this meme!!
I'm very excited about it, can you tell?
Hannah Nicole at Aspire made it for me--
and I absolutely love it!
(She's having a giveaway for a new blog design valued at $100,
so click on her link--Aspire--to check it out!)

Isn't it great?!


Please copy the button above and
place it somewhere in your blog post
and then LINK UP today! 
How has God encouraged you
this past week or weekend?

Let's Share and Make Sure Mondays Are Great:
Glad Rejoicing Encouraged And Thankful

I believe there's a connection between Monday (the beginning of the work week) and Mornings (the beginning of the day).


Are you a morning person?  I am definitely not.  This has been a lifelong source of frustration for me.  I had difficulty getting up and getting to school on time as a child, I had difficulty being productive at work in the mornings when I used to work outside the home, I got lower grades in my morning classes in college, and on and on and on...


Growing up, I would sleep in very late on Saturdays, and every day when in my Summertime Schedule.


God encouraged me a few days ago by showing me something in His Word that relates to mornings.  What we traditionally think of as morning isn't the beginning of the day!  In the Bible and the Hebrew world, the day begins the night before.  For instance, Passover begins at dusk the night before.


Genesis 1:5:
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.


This prompted me to take inventory and ask myself the following questions:

  • If the day begins in the evening, how am I spending the "beginning" of my day, my evenings? and how is my sleep affected by my choices?
  • What changes do I need to make in my evening habits?
  • What preparations for the following day could be made in the evening that would make mornings more manageable and days flow better?
  • How is what's being placed before my eyes, in my ears, and in my mind in the evening affecting my waking thoughts and my morning mood, as well as my overall attitude throughout the day?

I encourage you to come up with more questions for yourself.


In addition to those questions, I began to remember strategies which have helped me at various times in my life.  I put together this list to help all of us "night people," and I think it will be beneficial to you "morning people," too.


10 Tips To Make Mornings More Manageable and Mondays Great!

  1. Read the Bible before bed, and/or meditate on Scripture while falling asleep.
  2.  Quiet your heart, slow down your pace, and think pleasant thoughts the last hour before bed.
  3. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day. (Make Sunday truly a day of rest and take an afternoon nap or go to bed a little earlier on Sunday night. By all means, don't do any of your regular housework or laundry on Sunday.)
  4. Decide on, prepare and set out your clothing for the next day on the night before. (This eliminates a condition I'm all-too-familiar with: standing staring into the closet half-asleep for 15 minutes in the morning trying to decide what to wear.)  Make sure your children have clothing set out, too.
  5. Take your shower the night before. If that's not possible, try to get ready right away and before you leave your bedroom area in the morning.  This eliminates getting involved with all the decisions and people who are out there, as well as seeing all the visual distractions.  Keep the distractions to a minimum and don't go out to the main area of your home until you're dressed and ready to face people.  Make getting ready such a routine that you can do it in your sleep--almost literally! (If you have to have that morning jolt of caffeine right away to get you going, why not place the coffee maker in your bedroom or bathroom and set it up the night before on a timer!)
  6. Do mindless tasks and busy work in the morning when your brain is still waking up. (Make sure children know their responsibilities and can be self-directed as much as possible.)
  7. Drink 24-32 ounces of water first thing in the morning.
  8. Eat some protein with your breakfast within the first hour after rising.
  9. Listen to the Audio Bible or a message of Biblical encouragement on tape, CD or online to begin your Quiet Time.
  10. Do thinking, planning, decision-making and any creative activity during your best and most alert time of the day.

I still have a lot of trouble some mornings, but when I take these tips and put them into practice, I find mornings more than manageable and Mondays Are Great!
Write a quick post:  How did God help you through the week? Then link up below. If you don't have a blog, write in a comment what's encouraged or helped you this week.  I'm so looking forward to reading how the Lord has shown Himself strong in your life.
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Picky Eaters and a Recipe for Spinach Pesto Salad on Food Friday

My friend Margie shared another marvelous recipe with me, that I want to pass on.  She always uses the freshest ingredients, which of course helps.   We were blessed to taste this great salad at a gathering a while back.  After one bite I knew I had to have the recipe!


I think I've mentioned before that I love spinach.  Growing up, I was a picky eater, and never would have tried spinach, but I have learned to like a lot of foods I never dreamed of eating as a child.


This prompts me to say, "Don't give up hope, moms!"  You know that picky eater that about drives you crazy every night, and who is making dinnertime a dragged-out test of wills?  And who you think will never live a normal life or even grow up to adulthood, if they don't stop being so picky?  Well, they may do just fine!


I had one of those.  My friend advised me to place an assortment of healthy foods on the table, keep the junk food out of the house, and let them choose the foods at the table that they will eat.  I got better at this with time and practice, but I still don't excel at it.  (You can insist they eat at least one small bite of that food that they don't want to try, but otherwise just let them eat.) She also advised me to make sure I wasn't filling my kids up with unhealthy sweets and snacks in between meals, and that they were getting enough exercise and fresh air to build up an appetite.


My son, who was a source of frustration to me as a child because of his extreme pickyness, and who was so thin that he was off the charts, is very fit and healthy now, and daily surprises me by what he has tried and likes!  He keeps on trying new things!  It's so encouraging!  (Peer influence is also a powerful thing.)  All that to say, don't give up hope.


But, I digress.  Here is the recipe!


Recipe for Spinach Pesto Salad
Serves: This varies depending on how much of each ingredient you use.


When Margie gave me the recipe, she said it was given to her with no amounts: You put the amount of each ingredient in that you want, to your taste--more of the ones you especially like.


Ingredients:

  • Baby Spinach
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Sliced Black Olives
  • Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Pasta, cooked

Dressing Ingredients:

  • Light olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Pesto (basil)
  • Salt
  • Granulated garlic

Directions:

  • Mix salad ingredients together.
  • Mix dressing ingredients together.
  • Put dressing on salad just before serving.

I haven't tried making this myself, yet, so let me know if you do, how it turns out, and any tips you have for me (also a photo would be great to see).
Enjoy!
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Remodeling Thoughts and Photos on "Thankful Thursday"

We're remodeling.  As I look around me, I see packed boxes, empty boxes, the thirteen 12-foot-long boxes of new flooring lying in rows on the living room floor becoming "acclimated." There are painted walls in the living room, primed walls in the family room, and partially-prepped walls in the kitchen awaiting the next step before painting them this weekend.  (Meals need to be very simple right now, using tried-and-true recipes.)


There's no furniture in the living room now.  What furniture there is still in the family room is surrounded by boxes and tarps and lamps out of place.  Bedrooms and closets are in process of being packed up. (Laundry baskets full of clean laundry await someone with time and energy to put them away.)  Because we are laying carpet and new flooring on the whole main floor of our house, every room is affected right now except the two bathrooms.  Before we're done, they, too, will be torn up.  Right now, I affectionately call my home "Chaos Central."
"Before" Family Room
"Before" Living Room with railing
Remodeling is stressful on a family.  Change is not easy.  Impatience, irritability and inflexibleness have all made an appearance. It's tiring.  Energy flags, stamina lags, sleep is disrupted.  It's not always clear what should be done when, or in what order, to finish in time.  I want it done now.  At times, it's discouraging.  We have to be able to step back and see the big picture, envisioning the finished work which we hope will be beautiful.


If you can see past the debris and destruction, and the miserable mess, there is evidence of progress and even completed work everywhere.

A week ago "During" painting
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6
A week ago "During" LR painting
The process of remodeling reminds me that God is doing a work in me and He's not finished yet.  He's changing me into the image of His dear Son, Jesus Christ.  The work is huge.  At times very messy.  I'm often impatient and discouraged with the process and tempted to think it will never get done.  But, God is a Patient Carpenter and Wise Master Builder.  He knows just what needs doing, and when, in order for all the work to be accomplished.  He knows precisely which tools to use.  He can see the goal of what He's going to make and He's able, skilled, and won't stop til' He's done.  I'm so thankful for "this house's" foundation of Jesus Christ, and that He was willing to move in and live in the house while the remodeling's going on.
Living in the mess of remodeling our home, I am awestruck at the patience of my Lord, to live in the mess of "remodeling" me, and I'm so grateful that He promises He will complete the work that He's begun in me.


To participate and read other thankful hearts, please visit Laurie at Women Taking A Stand.  Thanks, Laurie, for hosting this month!
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