I Quit Sugar

June 15, 2014 in book review

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Okay, so I didn’t really quit sugar.
But I thought about it.
For a nano-second.
But then I remembered the Moose Tracks Ice cream in my freezer and quickly came to my senses.
Really though, if I DID plan to ‘quit’ sugar, I would probably use this book as a guide. Author Sara Wilson has a friendly, conversational writing style that invites readers to join her in her pursuit of health. Often when I read this type of diet or health book, I feel as if the author is condescending and snobby, but I didn’t get that at all when reading this book.
Also, the loose eight week ‘step-program’ seems like a great approach to an ambitious habit-breaking exercise.
The book is laid out well, beginning with the why, moving on to the how, and ending with the delicious-looking recipes that help you to achieve your goal.
I did try one of the recipes, the egg-bacon-muffins, which were great. But they should come with a warning that the grease from the bacon WILL in fact set your oven on fire.
After the initial shock of having to put out a fire at 7 am on a Monday, I did quite enjoy my delicious sugarless breakfast.
I would compare this book to something like the recently made popular Trim Healthy Mama, but I will say that I Quit Sugar is much shorter and contains much less information. This can be good if you are easily overwhelmed by information and just in need of a quick How-To. If you want something more in dept, and with more explanation, THM is the way to go. The premise of both books seem to roughly be the same, though they take different approaches. Both have you get off of processed sugar as well as natural fructose– such is found in honey and fruit. THM actually also suggests separating meals with fats from those with carbs, while IQS just has you cut sugars altogether.
Both books have recipes, but IQS contains beautiful food photography, which I find helpful. When health food looks good, it gives me the push I need to try it, whereas my imagination maybe isn’t always great at picturing a yummy-looking chia seed milkshake. But alas, it can be so… as I found in this book.
Would I suggest this book to a friend in need of diet or nutrition education? Perhaps. It certainly would help someone looking for a major lifestyle change. I personally prefer regulating my diet and maintaining fitness by eating healthy, moderate portion sizes and getting adequate exercise. But for some, this approach may be the way to go…especially for someone with sugar sensitivity.
As for now, though, I am happy to try some of Wilson’s recipes and continue my modest indulgence of sugar.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah for this review. I was not required to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Redeeming Love: A Review

May 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

In a world where everything comes at a price, it is hard for us to wrap our minds around the concept of free grace. But this grace is exactly what is offered us through our redemption in Christ Jesus.
In the Bible, we find that we are slaves to sin. But at great cost to Himself, Jesus frees us from the bonds of slavery and unites us to Himself, reconciling us to God, and giving us the seal of the Holy Spirit– our down payment to the inheritance that we have in Him! And all of this was done for us while we were yet sinners…while we hated Him! (Romans 5:8) How can such love be– that one could so love the unlovable?
And we are so unlovable! In case we have doubts, God has given us a picture of our adulterous, wicked hearts in the book of Hosea, and it is from this book that our author finds her inspiration for Redeeming Love.
Redeeming Love is an allegory of the book of Hosea. It follows the story of a young girl named Angel, whose life has never been anything but a mess. She is cold-hearted, angry, and hardened by bitter providences. She knows nothing of love, nor does she care to. Her only joy in life is found in those few moments of being alone.
But God sends her the hero that she doesn’t know she wants, and through His unwavering pursuit, she finds freedom and life in Christ.
This book is a lovely romance.  Whether you are a Christian or not you could enjoy reading it, but the themes of grace and forgiveness in Christ are undeniable throughout. You could not easily read this book and ignore the reality of Jesus’ redeeming work on the cross.
That having been said, this book can not be substituted for the Word of God, nor does it contain the power to save lost sinners. It simply points us to a greater love, and a greater story– the story of our Savior, and His loving work on the cross. And while pointing us, it tickles our imagination, prompting us to explore more deeply what it looks like to be pursued by redeeming love.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah for this review. I was not required to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Little Lovie

May 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

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I’m pretty sure sleeping with her is like the adult version of having a lovie.

Sweaty baby smell is like crack to postpartum mommies…

Am I right?

You know I am.

I wake up every two hours right now and somehow manage to nurse in total darkness.

I live for the sound of the coffee pot at 6 am.

And I have to confess…

There’s something about that middle of the night sleep deprivation that makes my judgement go right out the window.

What I mean is… under no other circumstance would I think it is a good idea to eat half a bag of jumbo marshmallows.

But at two am, covered in milk and baby sweat with red eyes and crazy hair…you can bet you’ll find me sneaking in to the kitchen to do something just so menacing.

What is wrong with me?

Anyway… I am a week and a half from the 6 week mark, which is both exciting and sad at the same time.

Sad because my baby is almost 6 weeks old! Exciting because that means I get to start running again!

For me, running was never about speed or distance…mostly because I accomplish neither, but running is about challenging myself and burning off frustration and just generally feeling good and tired and sweaty…which is a special kind of rewarding.

I did see this the other day and giggle tho… because I NEED it.

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It’s so so true.

But let’s see…what else is going on besides my future fitness and present marshmallow problem…?

The kids are slowly picking back up their schoolwork! (just at summer let’s out for all the normal kids)

Poor homeschoolers…

I cooked dinner 3 nights in a row last week! And felt like superwoman about it.

And currently, none of my children are sick.

Can I really ask for more?

Life is good. Not completely back to normal yet, but well on it’s way.

And I am really loving every second.

Now if I can just figure out how to get my 3 year old NOT to poop in his big boys, I will be mom of the year.

:)

Or something like that.

Oops, I hear something in the kitchen that has that sneaky sound about it…

Stay golden!

Until next time,

The Jet Puffed-MM Queen

 

 

 

 

 

One month photos

May 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

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And then there were SIX…

May 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

It is hard work making a tiny human.

It’s so exhausting carrying around 30 extra pounds, suffering through heartburn and a wide assortment of aches and pains, getting up at all hours of the night to go tinkle, and do I really even have to mention the hormones?

Towards the end of pregnancy, it really takes an act of faith everyday to get up and keep moving– faith that pregnancy, despite how it feels, really won’t last forever…especially when your tiny person is 6 days past her due date!

But in the end, the result is always worth it.

Because miraculously, God uses fragile and broken people– mommies– to bring forth life.

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Beautiful life.

This is Evelette Elise Morgan. And one month ago today, God used me to bring her to life.

On April 15, I woke up (after a full moon/ lunar eclipse) six days past my due date, and was devastated once again to find that I didn’t have a baby in the middle of the night…like everyone thought I would.

But soon after getting up and moving around, I had some ‘signs’ that pointed to imminent labor. Half in denial, I told my husband that we were finally having a baby. To which he responded, Are you sure? 

I called the Dr.’s office and told them that I thought I was probably, more than likely, hopefully, fingers crossed, going into labor very soon. They told me to come on in.

We decided to drag our feet, since my mother-in-law had to come from out of town to keep the kids, and since I hadn’t actually felt any significant contractions…so we slowly gathered our things and loaded the car and showered.

I fixed my hair and put on make up, and two hours later, my lovely mil arrived. By that time I could tell, barely, that I was having contractions about every 8 or 9 minutes. SO EXCITING! But I still thought labor might be a day away.

But just in case I was in labor, I decided to ask my husband to detour at Sonic before going to the clinic…because once I got there they would tell me not to eat, and then I would be hungry all day. So instead, I ate a big hamburger and ff…hoping I wouldn’t regret it.

What’s the expression? Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.

Sure enough, when I got there, 2 1/2 hours after I had spoken with the nurse on the phone and wielding a sonic cup, the nurse was not happy. Are you still contracting?? she asked. I told her yes, every 8 minutes. And she nervously had me sit and wait for the Dr to get back from lunch. Asking me a few times if I was okay…

Once called back, I was monitored and eventually checked by my Dr. who told me that I was 5-6 cm dilated! What? But I could hardly feel the contractions!

My Dr. sent me right over to the hospital to be checked in, again reassuring me that my plans for a natural birth would be respected, and telling me he would see me in a bit.

Once at the hospital, I was checked into my room and monitored for 20 minutes. While listening to the precious sound of my baby’s heartbeat, my nurse carefully read over my birth plan and discussed it with me. About the time that she finished, my mom and good friend/doula, Emily, showed up. Then we got going!

I began to feel contractions over the next couple hours, but they progressed very slowly and I very calmly breathed through each one. I know it’s strange, but I loved those early contractions when I began to feel pain. It was so exciting, and it was so manageable! It was the perfect labor that I had planned for! Emily and Brandon rubbed my palms through a few contractions, and then my nurse brought in a birthing ball (and the heavens opened).

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The birth ball was my best friend during labor. I sat comfortably on that thing the whole time! My sweet husband sat behind me, and we comfortable began working together and figuring out the perfect counter-pressure. We did this for a while as the contractions slowly intensified.

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I was so relaxed the whole time and so unafraid of the future. Emily and I had spoken before labor about not being fearful and just focusing on the present…and that is exactly what I did. Finally, things started to get intense and my nurse asked me if she could check my progress. I agreed, and found that I was 8-9 cm! Annnnd, begin transition!

After I got check, I stood up to move to the restroom and stood over the sink through a contraction or two. They were so intense that my husband HAD to continue counter-pressure for the pain not to kill me. (I also realized that I was involuntarily moaning through each contraction! ha.)

I swear he worked as hard as I did! And sweet Emily was there to relieve him when he needed a break. I ended up standing with my arms over my husband’s back, with Emily squeezing my hips when I finally gave in and announced that it was time to push.

This part was a little awkward. I ended up sitting in the bed, straight up. My nurse asked me if I wanted to lay back and I said no… but my Dr. being the hilarious man that he is, persuaded me once he got there that if I didn’t lay back a bit, I would end up sitting on the baby… and so I relented.

I never thought of myself as a screamer… but guess what? I am!

I screamed. I cried. I begged for mercy. At once point, I wailed pitifully, “This was a really bad idea”…which resulted in a collective “awwww…nooooo, honey” from my onlookers.

But after a lot of screaming and several unproductive pushes, my Dr. got eye level with me and lovingly said… Okay. Either we are going to sit here and scream, or we are going to push. But we are not going to do both. 

And so I shut my mouth for a minute and pushed and… to everyone’s excitement, my water broke with the most epic, and dramatic gush… shooting– no lie– 10 feet across the room. Thankfully no one was standing there. I still think that was everyone’s favorite part. Other than the baby being born, of course.

45 minutes later, and with a lot more unashamed screaming, my little girl took her first breath. The Dr. put her on my chest and we just lay there staring at each other and falling in love. Everyone cried– because she was so beautiful, but also because they’re all so empathetic they were glad my pain was over!

It was the perfect birth–relatively painless until the end, and then shockingly painful. Really, no one could have prepared me for the ‘pushing’ pain. yikes. But it was an experience full of love, and peace, and support. My ‘birth team’ was amazing, and I felt so loved and cherished by all of them. My husband especially was my hero, and birth- was very much a romantic experience, with him being my knight in shining armor.

And my baby was perfect! She stopped crying every time I held her, and even when they took her to be weighed, she looked around as if searching for me. We had an instant bond.

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This was the face she made when they took her to be weighed. Now she makes that face when she wants milk.

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Holding Daddy’s hand…

My Dr. was my guardian that day and made sure that my labor was exactly how I wanted. By the end of my pregnancy and labor I felt like he was an old friend. I highly recommend him to anyone wanting a natural labor experience!

Evelette’s first month has been amazing. I have experienced no post pardum depression, no feelings of being an overwhelmed-mother-of-4. It has been a smoothe, wonderful transition. Every minute with her is worth all the pain. And being a newborn’s mommy makes me remember my other babies and stirs up such affection for them.

The Lord has blessed me beyond measure, and I cannot wait to tell Evelette of His goodness, as I have told the others.

May He work in me day by day, that I might lead her to Him.

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Life is Happening

February 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

You know when you go to the movie theatre in the middle of the afternoon…

and you walk outside expecting it to be dark,

but when you get there you’re suddenly blinded by this brilliant light illuminating the world around you??

I feel like that is life right now, in the best kind of way.

So much life is happening, I can’t take it all in.

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First of all, these little people keep me pretty busy…

They are busy and sweet and so full of energy that I barely make it through supper at night

before crashing into my pillow to sleep for a million years. (or an hour until I have to go potty…whichever comes first)

And of course, that is due to this little person.

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Who is much bigger now than she was in that picture (taken around Christmas).

We are expecting to meet sweet baby girl E in less than 7 weeks!

That doesn’t give me much more time to do the strange and intense cleaning that I have been so compulsive about the last few weeks…

Thank you, Lord, my fingers are blistered from chemicals!

And then of course this happened!

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Which I can’t even really talk about…due to hormones and such running rampant.

But I will just say, *sniff, *sniff… I watched that tooth pop through the tiny surface of her wee little baby mouth 6 something years ago…and now it’s gone. :(

And I really wish that I had documented every single second of this beautiful life over the past few months…

But I’m just too busy living. ha.

And maybe there’s a little something about winter that sucks the metaphorical ink from my pen… I guess we’ll see.

Today it is 70* outside here in MS. And look who’s blogging?

I guess time will tell.

At any rate, I hope this blog finds you well.

And happy. And healthy. And as excited about spring, and new life, and love, and family as I am.

And if you’re in need of a hug today, consider this it. :)

Cause I miss ya. I really do. And I feel like you’re an old friend that I can always come back to…

picking up right where we left off, as if time and distance mean nothing.

Thanks for always being there…

Love,

Me

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Asleep at the wheel

January 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

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You know those really loud really bumpy patches along the side of the road–

the ones that you hit when you accidentally roll over too close to the line, that go off like a loud, violent earthquake and scare everyone in the car to death?

Well, that is the best illustration I can give you for that thing that happens sometimes when you are parenting multiple small children and you find yourself suddenly in the midst of total chaos and bad attitudes–

with toddler cranky pants hanging off your leg demanding a cookie,

the preschool sweetheart pretending like you don’t even exist,

and the  seventeen seven year old slamming her bedroom door in your face and screaming what for all intents and purposes can be called obscenities at you through gritted teeth.

It is like waking up with a coffee hangover and realizing that your car is halfway off the road.

You just pull over and slam on the brakes like… WHAT HAPPENED???!!

Ya know? Ya know what I mean?

I thought so.

But the best part about the whole ordeal is that when you stop shaking, crank up, and return to the road, you are a more attentive driver. You don’t get distracted. You don’t turn up the music and forget what you are doing. You keep your eyes on the lines and you get to where you needed to go.

After having an AAAHHH! moment before Christmas with my kids, I’m convinced that these hypothetical side-of-the-road bumps are an extreme mercy from God.

For one, because it is so easy for me to exist in a state of chaos and blame it on the kids hearts or the circumstances… and sometimes fear and panic are the best wake up call.

And two, because I’m reminded that I am the driver, and that I am  responsible for our having veered off coarse.

I am responsible…not just for the tiny people’s educations and physical well being, but for their hearts. Most importantly for their hearts.

I’m not saying I can change their hearts– only the Spirit can do that. But I can train their hearts, and I must.

The ultimate destination is to Jesus.

And I need to remember that everything I do for them, everything I teach them is for that purpose.

But I get so worried about all the surrounding stuff that I forget which direction we should be headed in.

And I often find myself pointed in the wrong direction.

Parenting requires so much grace. But God is my supply and thankfully, He never runs out.

And sometimes, when we obey as parents, God even rewards us by making our calling easier– as He has graciously done for me in the last few weeks.

The past two weeks have proven to me (again) that God’s way works so much better than mine, and that the first thing I should point the children to every day, without fail or exception, should be Christ crucified.

And taking the time to sit and think about why we’re journeying and where we’re journeying, and who we’re journeying with– makes life seem a little less chaotic, and a lot more purposeful.

The most encouraging part is how absolutely qualified I am to teach them about their need of Jesus.

It’s the one thing in life where my inadequacy and insufficiency give me a great advantage.

I know how much my children need Jesus, because I know how much I need Him.

And I know how faithful He is to meet that need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

January 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Well, I don’t know about you, but Christmas at the Morgan house was fantastic this year…

I’m not sure what the exact formula is for a perfect Christmas, but we got it pretty darn near close.

The kids (who are at times entitled and snotty about gifts) were happy and thankful and pursuing peace and fellowship. Being married was a blessing throughout the entire Christmas break (which, if we’re honest, it sometimes isn’t when you spend every day and night together), the food was sublime, the house smelled amazing and felt so comfortable, and the gifts (well, at least my gifts) were just icing on the proverbial cake.

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These beauties make my heart flutter. Or maybe it’s my tummy…

Either way, it was a good time.

But I am thankful that it’s over and I can just enjoy the ordinary things in life, which as I get older, become more and more sweet.

Things like coffee at 5:30 am in front of the fireplace, with a heart full of joy and a laptop.

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Or playing tickle monster with the wild tiny people.

Or putting stickers in my monthly planner.

Or sitting after a good meal in my cleaned, quiet kitchen at night.

These things aren’t nearly as marketable as Christmas… but they are so precious. Especially in this busy season, when sometimes the best moments go by the fastest.

Sometimes the imaginary ‘blank slate’ of the new year is a little daunting to me, but this year it is exciting.

I think a lot of that is because the if’s in our life seem to be disappearing one by one. Thank you, Lord!

In this season, I don’t have to question where I will be living in a year or two. I’ll be here!

I don’t have to question what Brandon will be doing. We love our job!

I don’t have to question where we will be worshipping. Our church has become family.

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And I don’t have to really question my calling in the next 6 months. I will be meeting my sweet daughter!

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And while by His grace I can always rest in the kindness of our Father, I have been particularly blessed this year to be put in a season where I can rest in the loving provision and comfort of His blessings as well. He is so gracious to take away the if’s.

So if I have any resolution this year, it is simply to be more thankful.

And to love Him more.

And to know Him more.

And to encourage those around me to do the same.

 

Merry Christmas

December 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Well, it has been so long since I have blogged, I almost forgot how!

Merry Christmas! (almost!)

I hope your holiday season has been as lovely, but perhaps not quite so busy as mine!

We had a great thanksgiving…complete with turkey induced coma naps, at my folks house in the Ms Delta.

We were especially thankful this year, since we closed on our first home the day before thanksgiving!

(See photo above!)

But our Delta trip was a nice distraction from all the moving stuff, and we were able to rest and take in the other numerous blessings that our gracious God has bestowed on us this year – blessings of family and food and fellowship.

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But the greatest of those blessings, of course, being God Himself. Who else but He could paint a picture like ^ that one?

He has been so faithful to provide for our every need, despite our weakness of faith.

My husband only stopped 8 times on the way home to snap these shots…

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But they do capture the work of a magnificent creator-God!

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Once we got home, survived 4 days in the cold without heat, reunited with the boys (who spent the weekend with my parents so that we could move), and moved in all our furniture…

We were able to take a break and have some fun putting up christmas decorations with the kids.

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These memories are the ones that will last, I hope. Memories of popcorn and hot chocolate, lights and family.

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We look back to past memories this time of year as well…

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But the best is still yet to come!

And I am so ready for good food, and time spent doing nothing but laying around and snuggling and talking and watching the lights on the tree twinkle.

It has been a long year, with lots of ups and downs. And so even as I long to celebrate this holiday season…

I also look forward to the next chapter, where hopefully we will find some ‘normal’.

And meet our little one, sweet Eve.

I look forward to doing school with the kids (is that weird?), going to the zoo, cooking dinners in my new kitchen, running (oh, how I long to put on yoga pants and run out all this stress!), and hold my sweet newborn.

I look forward to having friends over for good meals, and the sounds of sweet young voices singing hymns around the dinner table at family worship, and the feeling of seeing my fella walk in from work every day at 5…

And I pray that my heart will be as thankful then– every day throughout the year, as it is this holiday season.

May God grant me (and you!) eyes to see every blessing in 2014, every provision from His hand, every tiny mercy…

as evidence of His goodness and love. And help us to know more of Jesus, and to love Him deeper, and to trust Him greater, day by day.

Merry Christmas, friends!

“May your days be merry and bright!” :)

 

Homeless

October 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Well, turns out it was PERFECT that I blogged the other day about being useful to the kingdom of God.

Because that post has set you up perfectly for this next post.

Satan is a roaring lion, and he hates for us to be useful.

So… yesterday we came under his attack.

Yesterday, my family was evicted from our home.

Not for any reason that’s good. In fact, for a terrible reason–

for a reason of faith and conviction.

And I wish that I could tell you that I am a rock, and that my faith has not wavered for a second.

But I am far too human, and far too fallen. And it is in moments like these- of sinful fear and unbelief– when I praise the Lord through tears with a heart of gratitude, that my faith is not in my own hands… but that the God of creation upholds it by His willing Spirit. He strengthens it. And He will see it through.

For the last year and a half, I have loved this house. It’s had it’s problems, sure.

But it has been a place of joy and growth and love.

It has been a place where friendships were made, Bible studies were born, and some of the most precious milestones of life were captured.

But it is just a house. And I keep reminding myself of this.

A friend sent me this yesterday, and I recite it over and over again so that it may become fully true:

“Whom have I in heaven but you? 

And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

 My flesh and my heart may fail, 

but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Psalm 73:25-26

I am also reminded, through broken tears and a struggling heart, that this world is not my home. And to be completely satisfied in it is like being happy about living in a shoebox– while a whole kingdom awaits.

Because that is exactly what we have in Christ. My faithful husband reminded me of this yesterday.

Right now, on this earth, we are homeless.

But there awaits us a heavenly home– a perfect, safe place where we will rest in the everlasting love and faithfulness of our God.

A home, and an inheritance that no one can take away.

And I have the words of Jesus himself to assure me of this.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:3

And that is the true gift, isn’t it?

That in that home, we will ever abide in Christ.

And though we can’t experience that in it’s fullness now, we do experience it.

He is with us.

And he’ll dwell with us wherever we are, wherever we live– even if it is a shoebox.

Though I truly hope that’s not the case…

:)

Please pray for us over the next days and weeks…

You mean the world to me.

Love you all,

Callie