A DAILY DOSE OF LAULGHTER

PART THREE

Flowers at Canadale and Waterworks Park Aug. 2010 044

Beauty and gladness

Gladness is defined as:“be gleeful, making merry, light-hearted”.33 This is found in Psalm 16:9, where David is praising God for His guidance. In the New Testament, this word “gladness” comes from a Greek word meaning “be in a good frame of mind, make merry, rejoice”.34 This word is used in Acts 14:17, when the apostle Paul speaks of the rain and fruitful seasons as being a reason to exhibit gladness. In Esther we read that the people “made it a day of feasting and gladness”.35 The exiles had just won a great victory over their enemy and redeemed their lives. Would you not be gleeful if you were one of them? Would laughter not be spontaneous?

We hear the words of Jesus as He taught the beatitudes from the mountain side.36 He is proclaiming to the people that when they are persecuted and falsely accused for His sake, they should “jump for joy” and be “exceedingly glad”. Does He also mean us today? Of course! Can you jump for joy when, simply because you are a Christian, you are accused of doing something you didn’t do? I wonder how many of us would react that way to persecution! I doubt that I would often score very high on that test. How about you? Yet that is what Jesus requires of us. What He requires, He equips us to do. So yes, it is entirely possible to leap for joy in times of tribulation as well as in times of blessing. Try it! You may just find your heart a little lighter. (I must qualify that statement: if you are 100 years old, need a walker or wheelchair, or are otherwise physically impaired, I really wouldn’t recommend the leaping unless the Lord heals you. Please stick to the laughter. I don’t wish to be responsible for any bodily injuries!)

Can you now understand the importance of allowing humor into your life? We need to learn to

Flowers at Canadale and Waterworks Park Aug. 2010 018

Color me joy

laugh, not only at humorous incidents or comedy, but also at ourselves. We tend to take ourselves all too seriously. We need to lighten up a little and force ourselves to take a new perspective on life. If Jesus jumped for joy, I ought to do the same. If the writers of the psalms advocated laughter, should we not also find occasions for hilarity? If the prophets, who delivered messages from God that were often very serious warnings, could find reason to rejoice, how can we, who have the word of God at our fingertips and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, not also “rejoice with exceeding great joy”? I challenge you to give yourself a daily dose of laughter and let the “joy of the Lord be your strength”.37

Thought for the day: When you learn to laugh at yourself and your circumstances, healing is not far away.

Prayer: Father, I pray that everyone who reads these words (including myself) will learn to store all the humorous incidents in their lives into the retrieval system of memory. Please help each one to be able to access these ‘files’ on days filled only with clouds and darkness, where humor is not to be found, and when all reason for laughter has fled. Lord, may You illuminate our memories of good times, fun times, so that as we learn to recall them in troubled times our troubles may seem a little easier to bear. Thank you Lord. Amen.

3 3Strong’s

Flowers at Canadale and Waterworks Park Aug. 2010 020

Remember times of laughter

4 4Ibid

5 5Esther 9:17

6 6Matthew 5:12

77Nehemiah 8:10

 

I do hope you have enjoyed all three parts in this series. Please let me know in the comment box below what your thoughts are on this subject. What made you laugh today? Yesterday? I pray this has inspired you to look for the joy in life’s more difficult places and that you will find reason every day to take your daily dose of laughter. Find a friend to laugh with and it will be doubly freeing.

If you haven’t already begun to follow my blog, please check the “Follow” button at the top so you can receive e-mail updates as I post new stories. May God richly bless you every day of your lives.

Advertisements

A DAILY DOSE OF LAUGHTER

PART TWO

Donna Fawcett's writers' group day 008

Be joyful together

Joy is spoken of throughout the Old and New Testaments. The Bible tells us that God Himself joys and rejoices over us.18 The first word “joy” in this verse is translated from a Hebrew word meaning “mirth, pleasure, rejoicing”.19 Yes, God takes pleasure in you. The second, “he will joy over thee”, means “to spin around under the influence of any violent emotion”.20 Can you picture the Lord spinning around because He is overflowing with joy over you? Though it is very difficult to imagine, this is exactly what the scripture says He does. In a similar vein, Luke 10:21 tells us that Jesus “rejoiced in spirit” . This word means “jump for joy, exult, be exceedingly glad”.21 Jesus, jumping for joy? Never! This cuts right across our traditional way of thinking. Perhaps that is exactly what He intended. When we think of Jesus we frequently envision famous paintings we have seen of a very serious, sedate man. He is praying; He is blessing the little children; He is teaching the disciples; He is healing the sick; He is hanging on the cross. Seldom, if ever, has anyone portrayed Him with even a hint of a smile let alone laughter. But leaping up and down? It seems so childish. No one ever painted that kind of picture. The words of poet Edgar A. Guest seem to agree with me as he has expressed his thoughts in his poem.

THE MASTER

They seldom show Him with a smile.

Always His face is sad to see,

As if a jest could never be

Nor He be merry for a while.

The kindly humor that could pat

The brows of boys He chanced to see

And say: “Let children come to me!”

No brush has ever pictured that!

The man who loved a little child

And walked the common ways of men,

Though troubled often, now and then,

With those about Him surely smiled.

I fancy as I read His word

I hear Him chuckling, soft and sweet,

Telling to Mary, at His feet,

Some curious thing He’d seen or heard.

He must have had a twinkling eye,

Which danced at times with gentle mirth,

So greatly to be loved on earth,

So bravely on the cross to die.22

But if Jesus leaps, and if God whirls around in joyous abandon on our account, how much more should we, His children, leap and dance for joy over what He has done for us? Have you watched children jumping up and down because they are excited about something? You just can’t keep them still. Listen to their merry laughter. Learn to praise the Lord with childlike joy and experience a new freedom in the Holy Spirit.

Two other New Testament verses talk about jumping for joy. We find the Philippian jailor

Copy of P1060482

Be glad and rejoice

rejoicing, jumping for joy, after he and his family had received the gospel message.23 He was extremely happy. Could he have also been laughing? Peter says that we rejoice in the fact that we are kept by the power of God even though we may be going through a place of real heaviness and temptation.24 Jump for joy when everything is going wrong? Impossible, you say. Yet Peter says we should do this very thing. Verse 8 in the same chapter says we “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory”. Now, that’s what I call rejoicing! Jumping? Yes, most certainly. Laughing? Definitely. This is the fullness of joy in Jesus.

Even Jeremiah, often called the weeping prophet, knew times of extreme joy.“Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.”25 This rejoicing means “mirth, pleasure, exceeding gladness, glee, blithesomeness”.26 When you are full of glee, I’m certain you will laugh. The simple knowledge that we are called by the name of the Lord should cause joy to bubble up within us. Have you ever laughed uncontrollably without knowing what you are laughing at? It is one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves, body, soul and spirit. Like joy, it is contagious.

The Lord, through the prophet Zechariah, admonishes His people to rejoice because He was coming to dwell among them.27 Who would not brighten up and make merry at God’s announcement that He is coming to live with them? David declares that he rejoiced greatly in the salvation of the Lord.28 What better reason to “spin around under the influence of violent emotion”? When he said “greatly”, he used a word that means “vehemently, wholly, speedily, diligently, utterly”.29 In other words, he put himself completely into the rejoicing. He abandoned himself wholly body, soul and spirit in praise to his God. Remember when David danced before the Lord? It says he danced “with all his might”. It was accepted by the Lord as worship, but he was despised in his wife’s eyes because of his abandon in the dance. There was obviously a serious lack of joy or humor in the life of Michal.30

In Psalms 89:12, 98:4 and 71:23, we find the word rejoice mentioned again. This word is translated from the Hebrew word meaning “to shout, to creak (emit a stridulous sound) for joy, sing aloud, triumph, greatly rejoice”.31 Emit a stridulous sound–could that possibly mean laughter? I believe it could. Isaiah prophesies that the heart (of Israel) shall rejoice” when God’s peace comes like a river and He comes to comfort them.32 That is truly cause for joy.

8 8Zephaniah 3:17

9 9Strong’s

0 0Ibid

1 1Ibid

2 2(From the “Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest” copyright 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Co. Canadian edition 1945.)

3 3Acts 16:34

4 41Peter 1:6

5 5Jeremiah 15:16

6 6Strong’s

7 7Zech. 2:10

8 8Psalm 21:1

9 9Strong’s

0 02 Samuel 6:12-16

1 1Strong’s

2 2Isaiah 66:12-14

Thank you for popping by to read Part “Two of A Daily Dose of Laughter”. I hope you will get your daily dose either from this post or from something in your personal life today. I hope you will come back to read Part Three, the final post in this series. And please, leave a comment in the box at the bottom.

Have a wonderful day. May the Lord richly bless you with joy and gladness, and a daily dose of laughter.

A DAILY DOSE OF LAUGHTER

PART ONE

God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.1

Cuddles 003

A smile-maker

Do you ever see the funny side of life? Or is your life so full of trouble that you have lost the ability to laugh? Is humor appropriate for Christians? Most emphatically! The Bible speaks a great deal about being merry, glad, and full of joy. All through the scriptures we are admonished to rejoice. The Bible also speaks of laughter. While rejoicing may not always be the result of humor, I believe that humor does play an important part in making the heart merry. Laughter is a very powerful instrument in our lives. I cannot imagine being merry and full of joy without it.

Since Solomon repeatedly addresses the issue in the book of Proverbs, we may safely conclude that he experienced times of rejoicing and merriment.“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” 2 Is your heart broken? Perhaps sorrow has become the ruling power in your life. God understands our times of sorrow, but He has not destined us to live in a vale of tears and grief forever. He has made provision for our healing through the blood of Jesus and fellowship with Him. He has deposited His joy within us if we are born again3. The word translated merry in Proverbs 15 means “glad, merry, joyful, making merry”.4 Solomon tells us that “he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” 5 This word “merry” means “ pleasure, prosperity, ready, sweet, wealth, welfare, well-favored”.6 Do you experience pleasure in life, a sweetness, a merry heart? Are you prospering in your spirit? Do you wish to be well-favoured? Feast your heart on good things that will stimulate that merry heart. Take the apostle Paul’s advice and think only on those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.7

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” 8 It is a proven

David Carruthers' Presentations 001

Making people laugh

fact that people who suffer from serious illnesses have a far greater chance of recovery when they laugh a lot. Solomon knew this centuries ago. The medical profession could have saved itself a great deal of trouble when it sought to prove its theory if these people had simply read the Bible. Those who are bereft of joy and laughter are often victims of depression and various physical ailments. Sometimes their bodies succumb to serious illness. Take precautions to reduce the risk of consequences of this type; be sure to make a place for a daily dose of laughter.

We are told that after the great sacrifice had been made, Solomon “sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the Lord had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.” 9 Rejoicing played an important role in the lives of God’s chosen people. When they were obedient and served Him, they experienced joy; when they disobeyed and rebelled against His will, there was no rejoicing. But Solomon wasn’t the only person in the Bible to talk of being merry. In his letter, James admonishes Christians: “Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.” 10 He knew that a song of praise was an appropriate expression of joy. It also promotes an increase of joy in your life. If you are feeling depressed in spirit, try singing a song of praise. It will do wonders for your disposition. Also spend time in the company of others who are filled with the joy of the Lord. You will find that joy is contagious.

Now, let’s look at laughter in the Bible. Solomon tells us that there is a “time to weep, and a time to laugh.” 11 Obviously there will be times in our lives when laughter is absent because of loss and sorrow, and in times when we have sinned and need to repent. But, as Solomon says, there is a time when laughter is good. This is the laughter of merriment. You cannot make merry in silence. Have you ever tried to hold back laughter when something looked so funny to you but you knew you shouldn’t laugh? Then you know what I mean.

When Jesus taught the people what we now call the Beatitudes, He told them that they who weep now are blessed, for they “shall laugh”. The word here means “to laugh as a sign of joy or satisfaction”.12 Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit whose attributes include joy.13 As Christians, we also have the Holy Spirit within, therefore we have the joy of the Lord. Sometimes it needs to be awakened; sometimes in needs to be stimulated in order to increase. This will happen as we are determined to seek the Lord with all of our hearts. Although we are not told in so many words in scripture, I have no doubt that Jesus laughed. People were attracted to Him, and people are seldom drawn to those who are constantly sombre and humorless.

Though Job’s friends were poor sources of comfort to him in all his trials, they did occasionally make a good point. One of them, Bildad, told Job, “Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing” .14 Here we find laughter directly connected to rejoicing. Bildad knew God well enough to believe a time of joy would follow a time of trouble. The psalmist says that “When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.”15 The Israelites had been in captivity for seventy years, and when they were set free, they laughed. They laughed because of the goodness of their God. They laughed because they were released from bondage. We, too, have every reason to laugh. Our God is good to us. He has set us free in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Laughter is defined as “the experience of joy, merriment, amusement or the like”.16 To laugh is “to express mirth, to manifest joy”.17 Joy must be expressed. When laughter is absent from your life, everything will seem dull and drab. The presence of laughter is like sunshine as it bursts through storm clouds. Often we need to change our perspective concerning the things that happen to us on a day to day basis in order to experience the warmth of that sunshine. Let’s look at some hypothetical situations where aggravation and anger could be defused by a little light-hearted laughter.

Copy of David Carruthers' Presentations 012

A good laugh is like medicine

Your three-year-old just fed the dog the steak you were defrosting for dinner. How will you react? She has also dumped a bag of flour over the dog’s head. Do you see that as funny? ( I use these examples because, many years ago, I knew a family with a young boy who did those very things, among many other antics.) I’m sure your initial instinct would be to get angry and punish the child out of frustration.

Crash! Oh, no! The cat just knocked over your favorite plant and scattered the freshly-watered soil all over the carpet you recently had cleaned. The plant is ruined. And now muddy paw prints criss-cross the cream-colored couch and carpet marking the road to its hiding place behind the chair. How are you going to react? We might have an instant urge to shoot the cat. But, minus the gun, we would at least shout at him, grab him and throw him outside. Some of us would dejectedly sit down in the middle of the floor and cry. Others would be on hands and knees, grumbling, but cleaning up, and probably only spreading the muddy mess further. A good time to pray for patience! How many of us would laugh? Perhaps you think that would be either inappropriate or simply impossible.

Let me tell you a true story, one in which I was the central character. It happened one night about twenty years ago. I attended Bible study at church on Wednesday evenings. On this particular evening, the regular pianist could not be there, so the assistant pastor asked me if I would play. I followed him onto the platform where he showed me which songs he wanted me to play. All was well with that until, without thinking about where I was, I took a step backwards. Of course, my foot met with thin air, my whole body followed and I ended up on my bottom end in a V-shaped position. How, I will never know, but I found myself instantly on my feet. Maybe the Lord sent angels to help in this embarrassing situation. Everyone came running to make sure I wasn’t hurt. But my first instinct was to laugh. I didn’t live that down very soon, especially where one couple was concerned. They, too, loved to laugh and to see the funny side of things. For at least six months, every time I remembered the incident, I burst out laughing. It didn’t matter if I was driving, in bed, alone, or wherever else. The laughter would start. And to ease your minds, no, I did not injure myself. At least, not knowingly. I have since been told by a massage therapist that my tail bone in out of alignment, so that may have been the original cause.

So next time something exasperating occurs in your life, try to see the funny side. It may take some determined effort to search for it. If it is only childish mischievousness that has irritated you, without compromising your discipline of the child, look for humor in the situation. Find a reason to laugh (of course, never in front of the child unless you want him to venture on new escapades worse than these!). How would an outsider react on surveying the scene? Probably with laughter, although she may attempt to conceal her hilarity. Laughter releases tension. Laughter lightens the load. If you can find someone else to laugh with, the release is even more profitable. Try it, and see if you don’t feel better. Remember, nothing ever looks as bad in retrospect as it does when you are in the middle of it. It’s all in the perspective

1 Genesis 21:6

2 Proverbs 15:13

3 See John chapters 15-17

4 Strong’s

5 Proverbs 15:15

6 The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible Thomas Nelson Publishers

7 Philippians 4:8

8 Proverbs 17:22

9 2 Chronicles 7:10

0 0James 5:13

1 1Ecclesiastes 3:4

2 2Strong’s Concordance

3 3Galatians 5:22

4 4Job 8:21

5 5Psalm 126:1,2

6 6The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language

77Ibid

I hope you were able to find something to laugh about as you read Part One of this Three-Part article. Please come back to read the next two parts. And if you are not already following me, just click on the “Follow” button at the top and you will receive e-mail notifications for each new post. Try to find something in your own life to laugh about today and stir up the joy of the Lord.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog. I hope you will leave a comment in the box below. I really enjoy reading what my readers think about my stories. You make my day when you leave a comment.

Have a wonderful and joyful week interspersed with times of laughter, preferably with a friend or family member. God bless you.

PULLING OUR CHAINS

P1100602

Granddaughter Clock

The Granddaughter Clock

In my possession is a beautiful hand-crafted replica of an early 20th century granddaughter clock. The elderly gentleman who made it would visit flea markets or antique shops looking for old hand tools which his son would sharpen and recondition to perform as they once had.

This gentleman is a true craftsman. In his eighties when he made this clock, he worked with care and love in a little shop at the back of his yard. I met him when I had a booth at one of the markets he used to frequent. He bought a couple of my father’s old tools and would stand to chat for a few minutes about his clocks.

One day he asked me if I would like one of his granddaughter clocks–no charge! Naturally I said an enthusiastic ‘yes’. A few months went by and I forgot about that conversation. Then came the phone call. My clock was finished and ready to be picked up. He told me to bring something to wrap it in for protection on the way home.

I had never heard of a granddaughter clock and had no idea what it was. In my mind I visualized a clock similar in size to a mantel clock but with a different shape. Great my surprise when I discovered that this clock just barely fit in the back seat of my car (a Toyota Corolla)!

The wood feels like satin. This clock has a quartz movement so does not have to be wound like an original clock, but is nonetheless a wonderful piece of workmanship and has given me a great deal of pleasure.

The Grandmother Clock

Months later this gentleman again called me. He needed a square clock face for his 1700s

P1100601

Grandmother Clock

grandmother clock replica and could not find any to purchase. Could I do the artwork? Of course I agreed. When I called to tell him it was ready, he asked if I had room for one of these clocks. My answer? “I’ll make room!”

Would you believe this man actually wanted to pay me for the artwork? Two beautiful clocks he gave me! How could I accept payment for a couple hours of ‘work’ doing something I love to do? I cannot imagine how many hours he spent creating his pieces of art, cutting, carving, fitting, sanding, staining, applying the final coat of Varethane™, all without the use of power tools. I refused payment, but determined, he purchased something from me that I am certain he had no use for.

This clock is over six feet tall. I was certain I would have to ask someone with a van to go with me to pick it up, but this gentleman had made the clock in three sections which, when put together, look like one continuous piece of furniture. But this clock is different not only in size and appearance. This clock has a pendulum and a bell rings on the hour and half-hour. Evidently chimes had not come into use in clocks in the 1700s. The delicate sound is beautiful.

P1100607

Pendulum and numbered certificate

The weights are old window weights. He fashioned the pendulum from some piece of metal. The movement he purchased from a company in Germany. No detail was left out. No pains were spared as he created his masterpiece.

Pulling the Chains

In order to wind this clock, you must pull the chains on which the weights hang. This must be done every two days to keep the clock going. The problem is that I would forget to pull the chains and the clock then stopped. After a couple of days, sometimes longer, I would realize I had not heard the bell ring for a while, and I once again would pull the chains. Unfortunately, the wooden plugs with the hooks that held the weights in place loosened, and the weights would fall off. I used a product that swells wood, hoping it would be permanent. But that eventually failed, too. I then purchased a couple of mesh bags used for washing delicate clothing, pulled them over the weights, tied them and used the loops to hang on the hooks. Voila! It worked. I could pull the chains, give the pendulum a little nudge and the clock was functioning again. But for some reason I stopped doing this and for several years the clock has simply stood there as a piece of furniture. Last night as I was writing this post I took time out to photograph the clocks and inadvertently knocked the pendulum into gentle motion. I realized the clock was working, so I set the time. I thought no more about it until I sat down in the living room for a few minutes before bedtime. To my surprise, the bell started to ring in the midnight hour. Now I must get into the habit of pulling those chains regularly to keep the clock going.

Mr. Churcher called me one day to ask me what number my clock was. He asked if it was still working. I told him my problem and he said he would make me some new weights. Unfortunately I never heard from him again.

Do you ever need someone to pull your chains? Are you like me, sometimes a little sluggish, not very productive? I need someone to pull my chains, to get me working again. I believe we all need that sometimes. If you don’t have an encourager in your life to do this, I urge you to find someone who will be faithful to do this in a loving and gentle way. At times we need a push, at times we need a hand to help us up to a higher level. But sometimes all we need is a friend to pull our chains. We start steadily ticking again, the bells will ring out and we are back on track running the race for healthy living.

This man was truly an example to all of us. He kept his chains pulled and spent his ‘spare’ time

P1100609

Close-up of clock face

creating beauty for others to enjoy. I don’t know if he is still alive, but I will never forget his generosity and his love of craft. Every time I look at the clock, I see him in his workshop, trailed by his Welsh corgi.

So, let’s keep our chains pulled, our clocks ticking and our bells ringing out as we allow something of beauty to be created in our lives that will bring pleasure into the lives of others and glory to the Lord.

P1100608

The description of the clock on the inside of the door.

I hope you have enjoyed my story about the clocks and of the true craftsman who created them then gave them away for free. Although I never saw it, I know he made a grandfather clock and gave it to a nursing home, I believe in Sarnia, Ontario. His generosity and craftsmanship is an example we all should follow.

Though I knew Mr. Churcher would not accept payment for the clocks, I wanted to give him something he couldn’t refuse. So after receiving the first clock, I wrote a poem and used my calligraphy “skills” on parchment as a tribute to him. Below is a photo of a photocopy, so it isn’t really as clear as I would like, but I think you can still read it. One day I quietly put the envelope with the poem inside his front door. Later he called to tell me he had found it. He was delighted. He also told me that his daughter-in-law would receive it when he died as she, too, was a lover of clocks. I also discovered that I knew his daughter-in-law as she worked in a store where I used to purchase product to resell.

P1100610

Poem “The Granddaughter Clock”

Please feel free to add a comment with your thoughts in the box below. Your comments mean a lot to me. I appreciate you taking your time to visit. If you are not already following me, please click on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. I pray your week will be blessed in every area.

WALLS OF BRICK, WALLS OF STONE

A rich man’s wealth is…like a high wall in his own imagination.1

He sets up walls and ramparts for security.2

Copy of Goderich August 2009 102

Wall of Stone

Walls. They enclose or divide; protect or isolate; include or exclude. Walls create boundaries. We can choose to remain behind, climb over, dig under them, or tear them down. Physical walls in our homes shelter us from the weather, keep out intruders, and give us a sense of security and privacy. They are made of wood, brick, stone, cement and, in some places, mud and straw. Walls are sometimes built for purposes of defense. They also hold back flooding rivers, mark property limits, enclose dangerous animals or people.

Spiritual walls fall into two categories: man-made (walls of brick) or God-made (walls of stone). Brick is a block of clay, usually rectangular, hardened by drying in the sun or by burning in a kiln until hard, and used for building, paving, etc.3 On the other hand, stone is a hard concretion of earth or mineral matter, as lime, silica, or clay.4 In other words, brick is man-made, stone is God’s creation.

God creates walls for our protection. They enclose us, His people, in a safe place.5 They create an atmosphere of community where we may freely fellowship together in Jesus. Within His walls we find acceptance, peace, truth, and all of God’s blessings. We can choose to remain outside His walls, but we will also find ourselves outside of His favor and purpose for our lives. Our heavenly Father desires to gather us into His enclosure where He can shepherd us, care for us, feed us and teach us.

Picture a flock of sheep after a day out in the pasture, as the shepherd leads them into the

P1070568

Sheep protected

sheepfold for the night. They trustingly follow their leader. They are assured of peaceful sleep, safe from roving predators, faithfully guarded by their loving shepherd. The wolves may howl, but why should the sheep fear? What if the night is black, no stars are shining, no moonlight illuminates the countryside? The sheep are content to be with their shepherd. It is his responsibility to keep watch. He will risk his life for those sheep. But suppose one sheep refuses to enter the fold? What fate might await this defenseless creature who ignores the possibility of danger? Are we not often like that sheep? We want to be in control, to rely on our own powerless defenses. We raise up temporary walls of brick; God builds for eternity with stone.

Copy of P1080603

God builds with stone

To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ;

Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.6

Jesus is the chief cornerstone in the building of God. We, His people, are also living stones. If we are obedient to Him, He will place us into His building, His walls. We are built on a solid foundation. This wall, this building, can never crumble!

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.7

P1100597

Brick wall

But walls of brick are built by people who wish to insulate and isolate themselves and exclude others from their lives. Protecting ourselves from pain becomes a priority. Hidden in the comfort zone behind our walls, our attitude speaks loudly: “I choose my own way, in spite of what others may say!” While locked away in these false sanctuaries, we nurse our hurts, cling to wrong attitudes, persist in our sinful ways and delude ourselves into believing that we have the right to our own choices. We erect walls with bricks made of grudges, unforgiveness, anger, jealousy, selfishness, the nurturing of past abuses and rejection. After building the walls, we justify our actions with an attitude of self-righteousness, and create a false sense of security. We deceive ourselves. What we trust is protecting us is actually isolating us from the place of healing in Jesus. We not only barricade ourselves in, we obstruct all attempts of aid from outside. Self-pity, struggling in our own strength, striving for acceptance and love is fruitless and will, in the end, bring despair. Our only hope is to be hidden with Christ within the walls of His fold.

How can we deal with rebellion? We must tear down those walls, dismantle them brick by brick. The power of God is essential for us to accomplish this; He alone can help us overcome every obstacle in our lives. Only Jesus can heal our wounds. When we realize that we are poor and needy, then the Lord can work in us.

He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill;

That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.

He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.8

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their’s is the kingdom of heaven.9

Destroy your walls of brick; scatter the rubble to the four winds; flee from your self-made prisons. Be instead a prisoner of Jesus Christ.10 Experience the joyous freedom of being enclosed within God’s stone walls where you are protected by His Holy Spirit, surrounded by His chosen people. Fenced in by His love you can find healing and rest from futile self-effort. Patiently wait for the Lord and see what wonderful things He will do. Remember: we are living stones; we are God’s building. We are the triumphant church of God!

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ… 11

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.12

Thought for the day: Never build your own walls of separation when the Lord is waiting for you to allow Him to be an encompassing wall of protection around you at all times.

Prayer: Father, I pray for all those who have over the years built walls to protect themselves against rejection, hurt, and many other things. Help them to know that these walls, rather than isolating them from further hurt, are really separating them from the process of healing and wholeness in Jesus Christ. Teach them how to destroy those walls. Let them fall like the walls of Jericho, never to be rebuilt again. Help them to release all the hurts, guilt, feelings of rejection, unforgiveness, shame, desires for revenge, refusal to open themselves to the love of others and to Your love. Give them faith to believe You will release them and replace those walls with Your strong walls of love. Father, my heart grieves for those who have been so severely hurt by others that they can see no place of healing. Oh, Lord, reveal Your love to their hearts. Show them just how much You long for them to cast all their cares on You and lean on You for their support. Touch them, Jesus, and make them whole. May they learn to let go of the past and allow You to be their Comforter, their Healer, their Life. Lord fill them with joy. May they find their sole satisfaction in the Savior of their souls. Break every bondage in their lives, and set them free to worship and serve You. Help each one to pray and believe for their own release. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

1 Proverbs 18:11

2 Isaiah 26:1

3 The Living Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language 1972 edition

4 Ibid

5 See Job 1:10

6 1 Peter 2:4-8

7 See Ephesians 2:20-22

8 Psalm 113: 7-9

9 Matthew 5:3

0 0Ephesians 3:1

1 12 Corinthians 2:14

2 2Romans 8:37

I want to thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to read. I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment in the box below. I love to hear from my readers. If you are not already following me, please click on the “Follow” button at the top and you will receive e-mail updates as I post new articles. Have a wonderful day. Be blessed.

WEEDS IN MY GARDEN

© 2006 by Diane Stephenson

Weeds.

Waterworks Park July 2010 020

Well kept garden

How silently they grow!

Millimetre by millimetre,

Inch by inch

They push their way up through the soil

Until they pierce the earth’s crust

As easily as a hot knife slices through soft butter.

And yet they expend great energies to grow.

They encroach upon sublime loveliness – roses, bluebells, lilies and Sweet William.

They diminish strength, nourishment, beauty, fragrance, life.

Weeds.

Earthworks 040

Weeds in my garden

How like the seeds

The enemy sows in our lives.

How silently they grow!

Moment by moment,

Day by day

They push their way up through the soil of our lives

Until they pierce the surface

In angry words, bitter thoughts, jealousies, discord and contentions,

As easily as a hot knife slices through soft butter.

And yet they expend great energies to grow.

They wither our strength, peace, love, joy, goodness, vitality.

They corrupt our prayers, relationships, union with God, our very spirit-life itself.

We need to keep the garden of our life free from weeds. That means we must be diligent to repent of sin quickly so it has no chance to take root. We need to tend the relationships in our lives or they will wither and die. We need to stay in constant communion with the Lord or we will languish in our spirits, souls and possibly our bodies also. We have all the tools to look after our garden: the Word, prayer, the armor of God, weapons of warfare, guaranteed entry into the throne room, a seat in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, the Father. We have no excuse for allowing weeds to grow in our garden, yet we often do just that. I want to tend my garden as Jesus tends the garden of my life so it is beautiful for Him and for those around me. How about you?

P1080532

I hope you have enjoyed my little poem. I’m glad you dropped by today. I hope you will leave a comment in the box below with your thoughts. Thank you for taking time to come here. Have a blessed day filled with the beauty of a well-tended garden.

Please share this blog with your friends and on your social media. And if you are not already following me, please click on the “Follow” button to receive e-mail updates when I post new material.

RAMBLINGS OF MY CHILDHOOD

RAMBLINGS ON MY CHILDHOOD

See, I have called by name…I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in…all kinds of craftsmanship.1

P1100581

Early ‘tools of the trade’

A roll of toilet paper, a box of Kleenex™, a roll of Scotch™ tape and a five inch doll. What do these items have in common? Well, to most of you, perhaps nothing. But to me, as a young child, they were a large part of my world of creativity. I could take these humble tools and make the prettiest gowns for that doll! As an only child, I spent many hours amusing myself, and they sped by as I cut, taped and dressed that small bit of molded plastic with saran hair.

I was introduced to the crochet hook and a ball of yarn, and with them, a whole new opportunity to expand my creativity. I remember one

P1100585

Crochet hook and yarn

particular baby doll. I believe she was called Rosebud. I had a cradle made out of a round salt box, covered with ruffled fabric and lace. This baby, with eyes that actually opened and shut, and arms and legs that moved, fit perfectly in that frilly bed. I crocheted a pink sweater, bonnet,

P1100579

Part of that first crocheted outfit for Rosebud

panties and booties, without aid of a pattern. After more than sixty years, I still have part of that imperfect outfit. Ridiculous, the things we save!

By the time I was eight, I had learned to do basic embroidery, or as it was often called back then, fancy work. Mine wasn’t any too fancy, I can assure you. But I was proud of it. I remember showing a small sample one day to my piano teacher. I’m sure I don’t know what she thought of it. I cannot remember, after all these years, what her response was. At any rate, I did learn to embroider very well over time. I even prided

P1100587

One of my later embroidery projects

P1100588

Back of my work

myself on the neatness of the back of the project as well. I haven’t attempted anything like that in years. I’ve lost all interest, I guess by default, because of the multiple and diverse creative interests I have pursued throughout my life. We have a wonderful Lord who has blessed us with imaginations that can lift us above the mundane into a world of spontaneity that can stretch us to a new level of creative output.

Children have a marvelous sense of creativity that usually diminishes as they grow older. They not only express it with their hands, but they excel in the inventive where games and other play are concerned. When I was a child of six or seven, we played a game called ‘Old Lady Witch’. That was just a fancy name for tag. Whoever was ‘it’ had to tag someone else before they reached the safety of the tree on our front lawn. The world of imagination carried over into ‘visions of the night’. I had nightmares about a witch living next door. Actually the people who lived in that house were very nice. But during the night, they were nowhere to be found, and I had to keep the doors locked and the curtains drawn so this wicked witch wouldn’t know I was home. Then, when I was just about three and a half months short of my eighth birthday, we moved. I never played ‘Old Lady Witch’ again. The nightmares never returned.

P1100591

The coat I was wearing when Brian bit me

While still living next to the ‘witch’, I can remember one day when some of the neighborhood children were playing in my friend’s front yard across the street. I felt left out. No one had invited me to play. I didn’t know what they were doing, but I did so want to be part of it. My friend’s older sister eventually crossed the road and asked me to join them. But she had an ulterior motive. They were playing doctor, or hospital, and wanted me to be the patient. That wouldn’t have been so bad, except the patient needed to have an injection. She actually had a large safety pin open and ready to stick into my arm. I think that caused me to suspect something, and, though I don’t remember for sure, I believe I stayed in my own driveway and so managed to escape a puncture wound in my arm.

There was another occasion when I didn’t fare quite so well. It was springtime, and the weather was cool. I was wearing a spring coat that my mother had made for me from a wine-colored woolen fabric. I was maybe about three years old at the time. I wandered over to the neighbor’s house where their grandson was playing. For some unknown reason, he took a notion to bite me. Through the heavy wool fabric, his teeth sank into my arm. How he ever managed to do it, I will never know. Those teeth must have been awfully strong and sharp! I think my mother went to speak to the boy’s mother. If I remember correctly, she denied that her boy had done it, but I had the teeth marks to prove it!

I was ‘blessed’ with twin cousins. The two girls are several years younger than me, and every time they came to visit, I had to hide my belongings if I didn’t want my bedroom turned upside down. Actually, they did do a pretty good job of trying one day. My mother was babysitting them while my aunt went on some errand. I came home from school to find semi-disaster in my room. One of the girls had taken my lipstick, painted her face and turned my beautiful white embossed wall paper into a pink abstract creation. The other was just as bad, but fortunately for me, she took the results home with her. She chopped off her hair and left bangs about a quarter of an inch long. Now I know most kids go through this stage, but they usually do it in their own home. Their mom can’t blame anyone but herself for not watching them carefully. But in a relative’s home? Oh, well, live and learn. You can see they were mischievous. So when they came I would sit and draw pictures for them. For my models I used the cartoons in the Saturday comics. That held their attention. My creativity came to my rescue time and time again, especially when the family arrived unannounced and I had no time to prepare for the onslaught.

By that time I had advanced from making toilet paper wardrobes for my dolls to one of the great loves of my life–drawing. The cartoons progressed into portraits. For subjects, I used pictures in magazines. The Christmas I was in Grade ten, I received a set of oil paints. My first attempts were, not to be too critical of my inexperience, not very good. But I didn’t give up, and eventually improved considerably. Of course, I never attained the level of a Rembrandt or Gainsborough. I was ‘commissioned’ a number of times in later years to do a few portraits, usually children and pets, and I painted some pleasant landscapes. In grade 8 our teacher, Miss Doherty, assigned us a project to write and illustrate a short book. That was probably my first effort at writing. Perhaps it was a time-release catalyst for what I am doing today. I cannot remember if I enjoyed it or not. That was a long time ago. But the joy of creating at any time was of far more value than can be calculated. I only regret that I have no time for painting today.

Front cover, title page and first chapter of my first book

 

My childhood ramblings must stop before they end up being reminiscences of my adulthood as well. The creativity that started when I was very young continued to grow and expand until it became, in the form of graphic arts, my living for many years. So if you have a child that shows curiosity, imagination, and creativity in any venue, encourage them to follow their whims and dreams. That may be just the beginning of a future career. Give them freedom to express themselves with pencils, paper, paint, fabric, or other craft materials. Read to them and encourage them to read for themselves. Help them to find new worlds in books. Allow them to experiment with writing, poetry, anything that will teach them to use and expand their minds.

Though I spent a lot of hours amusing myself, and was sometimes lonely, I didn’t sit around wishing for a different existence. I took the tools at hand and put them to good use. In my first efforts there was not much that would cause anyone to suspect my future might be wrapped up in what I was doing. But as I was allowed to continue testing different methods of creativity, I eventually taught myself many things that brought much satisfaction and joy in my adult years. I have moved on from many of these areas today, and now spend a lot of my spare hours, and many that are not so spare, in following my inspiration painting words on a page. It has been worth every effort, every failed experiment and every successful attempt. It’s called maturity. I think.

Flowers, Waterworks Park, Gibbons Park Spring 2010 045

Even a small river is important

Thought for the day: Never despise the little things in life. The smallest stream can grow into a mighty river if it is not hindered in its flow.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that You would help Your children to perceive every talent You have invested in them, even the tiniest. Help us not to overlook the gifts You have given to us. I pray that every gift will be put to its fullest use in order that it may produce the thirty, sixty or the hundredfold harvest. Father, help Your people never to say that their abilities are too small to be of use. Let us never overlook what can be done even with a roll of toilet paper. Help us to come to You with the faith of a little child and to trust You to take everything, small or large, that we do and through it bring glory to Your name. Reveal Your will and Your ways to us, Lord. Jesus, I choose to use all You have given to me and leave the outcome to You. You know the beginning from the end. I only see the beginning and perhaps part of the middle. I believe You will use my smallest efforts for the furthering of Your kingdom, Lord. Help me to be faithful. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

1 Exodus 31:2-5

I hope you have enjoyed my story for today and the accompanying photos. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I hope you will leave a comment in the box below and let me know your thoughts on this post. If you are not already following me, please click on the “Follow” button at the top and you will receive e-mail notifications when I publish new posts. Have a wonderful day. God bless.

BOUTS OF DOUBTS

Dressed-up dog 004

Does my mistress really love me?

Do you ever suffer from bouts of doubts? You question, wonder, falter in your walk. Did God really say that? Am I on the right path? Does God really love me? Why is this happening? Or, why isn’t that happening?

I think you know what I mean, and I imagine we have all been there at one time or another–or perhaps many times over. Maybe you are there now. It’s not unusual. The important thing is our response to those doubts.

What we must not do is give in to them. What we must not do is believe them. Read the Word of God. What does it say about our situation? Have we been obedient to God’s revealed will in His Word? God is not a man that He should lie (see Numbers 23:19), so what He says in His Word is truth. It must be fulfilled (see Isaiah 55:11) when we meet His conditions. And He doesn’t give us conditions that are impossible to meet. When He said He would never leave or forsake us, He meant it. When He said He would provide us with everything we need, He will do it. When He said He is our Healer, it is truth that cannot be changed.

So, when the doubts assail us, we must to run to Jesus. Let’s not entertain doubts, because Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith (see Hebrews 12:2) and will provide us with a way out of the mind-set of doubt into the mind-set of faith (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). Submit therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7). Doubts will fly away with him. Faith

P1070781

Smile! It’s not so bad.

will fill our hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the best ways to conquer doubt is to praise the Lord. Sing some of David’s songs from the Book of Psalms. Lift up the name of Jesus and He will draw you near to Him (see John 12:32). The Lord is a mighty warrior and will, if we yield to Him, have the victory in our lives. Then He will sing over us (see Zephaniah 3:17). Can you hear Him singing now?

I hope you enjoyed this short post today. I appreciate it when you take part of your valuable time to stop to read what I have written and to look at my photos. Please leave a comment in the box below. I will be sure to respond. Thank you and God bless you richly.

ARE WE GROWING?

Flowers, Waterworks Park, Gibbons Park Spring 2010 056

Growing blossoms are beautiful

When plants stop growing, we declare them dead and toss them in the garbage. If children don’t grow at a normal rate, we look for medical help, fearful of what has gone wrong. When a puppy doesn’t grow at the same rate as the rest of the litter, we call it the ‘runt’. Sometimes no one wants to bother with the runt.

But what do we do if our souls and spirits stop growing? Are we even aware that this could and often does happen?

Flowers, Waterworks Park, Gibbons Park Spring 2010 058

Dead wood–no more growth and no beauty

Looking back on some periods of my own life I realize I had stopped growing. I wasn’t feeding on the Living Bread. I wasn’t drinking from the well of life. I simply carried on because there was no other choice. At least that’s what I thought at the time.

We were created to grow. We grow physically without effort on our part. Or do we? We need to eat the right kind of food, get lots of pure water and air, get proper rest. If we don’t, we hinder our body’s ability to grow. When we are young,

P1070059

Babies need to be fed and cared for in order to grow

our parents see to these things, but when we “grow” older, we take on that responsibility for ourselves. Or not!

We also must keep growing in our souls. What is a soul? Our intellect, imagination, will, emotions, personality, character, our ability to reason–these make up our soul. We go to school to grow our intellect. We learn discipline in various ways so our will and emotions will grow in maturity. Our personality and character grow through our life’s experiences, if we use them in a positive way.

Spiritually we must grow. The Bible says that before we experience personal salvation we are dead in our sin. When we are born again, we begin to grow. But we need the right food–the Word of God. We need good ‘air’–the atmosphere of heaven. The Living

Fruits and veggies 002

Good nutrition is necessary for proper growth

Water, Jesus, is indispensable to healthy growth. And we need to learn to rest in the Lord rather than worry about life’s circumstances or trying to work things out for ourselves.

Often we are unaware of the growing process. It’s only as we look back that we see where we were and how far we have come. I have traveled a long road over the nearly fifty years I have been a Christian, through valleys, over mountaintops, and sometimes even in dark pits. I have known periods without growth. There have been growth spurts. And there have been long periods of slow but continual growth. But through it all, I can now see just how much I have grown in the Lord. I have come to know Him more intimately. And I am so thankful that God does not leave us to ourselves. He knows our hearts, and when we reach out to Him, even in our ignorance and in our immaturity, He is

More pics for blog 014

An old book Story of the Bible, our guide to meat and drink to grow spiritually

there to take us forward.

He has a destiny planned for each one of us. Will we walk that path? Are we willing to grow into the person He created us to be? Each of us has to answer this question for him/herself. I may not be anywhere near the goal yet, but I have positioned myself to grow in the knowledge of the Lord through the study of His Word, in ongoing relationship with Him through prayer and worship, and in the ministry and gifts He has given to me by doing what I have been called to do. Do I always live up to this? No. But I do need and wholeheartedly desire to grow in grace. How about you?

I hope you have enjoyed this little devotional today. I pray that you are doing all you can to keep growing in the Lord so you can fulfill the destiny He has specifically and carefully designed for your life. May God bless you.

Thank you for stopping by today. I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment below. If you have not already begun to follow my blog, please click on the “Follow” button at the top and you will receive e-mail notifications when I post new topics.

CRAFTY CREATIONS

Copy of Goderich August 2009 005

An acrylic on watercolor paper.

I thought today I would share some of my art and crafts. Throughout my life I have done various types of crafts such as copper tooling, aluminum trays, wood carving, sewing, crocheting, knitting, oil and acrylic painting and much more. I have been drawing since I was a child.

When as a young teenager I knew one particular aunt and uncle planned a visit with my three younger cousins–a boy and twin girls–I would make sure my things were put away safely. But if they came unexpectedly, I knew by experience that I had to do something to keep their attention or they would have my things in a muddle. In fact, one day when they were quite young and I was in school, my mother babysat them while my aunt had to go somewhere. When I got home I discovered they had been in my bedroom and, without my mother’s knowledge, one had cut her bangs in a very raggedy manner, and the other had found a tube of my lipstick, painted her face with it and also my white wallpaper. Wow! So, I got into the habit of drawing pictures from the Saturday comic section in the newspaper. They would sit by me and watch, and stayed out of trouble.

Goderich August 2009 006

Watercolor used as tempera.

Some of my paintings and a pen and ink drawing.

I loved making these dolls. I don’t know how many of the large soft sculpture dolls I made, but it was a lot. I made the dolls and the clothes. Every one had a different face and different outfits. They were big enough to wear disposable diapers. The one on the horse is a smaller version, and I have one a little smaller still. I designed and made the horse also. The doll in the cradle has a crocheted outfit and the cradle is made from a salt box. The tiny doll is only one inch high, and I used the tiniest crochet hook which had belonged to my grandmother to make her outfit which consisted of dress, bonnet and panties. I don’t know what happened with the last couple I made because they didn’t get the booties I usually made for them.

The panda is huge, and takes up a whole chair. There is a story to go with this panda. I made one just for fun for a craft show I was doing. I thought it would make an eye-catching display. Well, on the first morning of a three-day show, an older gentleman came up to my table and wanted to buy it. He also ordered a hanging clown with a musical

P1100574

Bobby the Barefoot Clown

movement. I asked him if I could keep it on display for the show and then deliver it to him later. He was fine with that. He wanted it for his grandson in Winnipeg. He told me that his son was a doctor and had a lot of money, and he didn’t know what to get the boy for Christmas. He knew this was something different, nothing anyone else would buy for him. Then he told me how old his grandson was–six months. I would have loved to see a picture of that baby next to that huge panda.

I designed Bobby the Barefoot Clown and made him with soft sculpture head, hands and feet. I also sold kits with the pattern for people who like to make things for themselves.

Copy of P1060547

Glass Etching

 

 

Another craft I did a little of is glass etching with a diamond tipped tool. It is quite tedious, but produces a beautiful end product. These I did mostly for myself, and I still have the two brandy snifters which I etched.

 

 

 

P1100575

Knitted Baby Shawl

The baby shawl to the right was a very challenging project the first time I made it. I sold that one and didn’t make another for years. Then suddenly three sisters were expecting all at the same time, and I wanted to do something special. So I started the first one to see how it would go. All three were finished in, for me, record time. The one in the photo is still in the making for some future baby.

An afghan I made for a wedding anniversary gift. Later I made two more as wedding gifts. Below is the pattern I used. It was my grandmother’s, and the bedspread she made from it is in the other photo. The medallions in my afghan are about twice the size of the bedspread my grandmother made. Hers was made with crochet cotton, mine with yarn.

More random projects. Top left is paper tole. This one is the first I ever did, the first of many. The gorilla is done on scratchboard. The technique is to paint the area with black India ink on a clay surface board, then take a sharp tool such as a needle and scratch out the design. Next are two of the many whiteware pieces I painted. The center punch is a mechanical drawing done with India ink, pen and ruler. The lettering at bottom was done with a fine brush, freehand for the curves and with the help of a ruler to keep things straight. The portrait is a pencil drawing. Unfortunately it got poked through with something sharp. The church is a pen and ink drawing also. This is a church I used to go to. We used the drawing on some of our printed material.

Well, I think this is more than enough for one post. I hope you enjoy the photos. Let me know in a comment if you have ever tried any of these crafts. Or tell me what crafts you have done, or would like to try. I would love to hear from you.

Please feel free to share this with your friends and on social media. If you have not already done so, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Follow” button to receive e-mail updates when I publish new posts.

Have a wonderful weekend. God bless you.