Friday, September 30, 2011

friends

This is such a great way to begin a weekend....just pouring out words from your heart, from the tip of the tongue with no worries that is might be wrong because on Friday...there is no wrong in the writing of an out-poured heart spurred on by a single prompt and 3 simple rules!! Here they are:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back at the gypsy mama and invite others to join in (this is your personal invite....try it...it's fun!)
3. Go a little overboard encouraging the writer(s) who linked up before you (and come back later to do the same with others after you).

PROMPT: friends

start!

As a PK growing up and moving more often then I would have chosen, I found that making friends was easy....however keeping them was not. Back then there was no email, no texting and long distance phone calls were just too costly and so I found the neccesity for a "best" friend, well unneccessary! 

Now that I am an adult and have more stability and control in the place I call home...I am finding people who I can truly call "friend"! I never really realized how important it was to have that relationship until lately. To have someone who I can count on, call on, hold me accountable, share my tears, my laughter, my life! 

I find it hard to trust, but harder not to have someone to trust! I am glad that my life now allows me to have those few close friends who I can trust, who inspire me and encourage me, who I not only like but love!

stop!
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

perfect and powerful love

This week we begin the final chapter of the Song of Solomon. This is where we will see a perfect and powerful love between the bride and her groom...between God and His church.
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 1 If only you were to me like a brother,
   who was nursed at my mother’s breasts!
Then, if I found you outside,
   I would kiss you,
   and no one would despise me.
2 I would lead you
   and bring you to my mother’s house—
   she who has taught me.
I would give you spiced wine to drink,
   the nectar of my pomegranates. 


Back in chapter 5 the groom called His bride "sister" and here we see the bride longing for her groom to be "like a brother". This is important for three reasons.
  1. The bride desires to be able to publicly display her affection for her groom, which was inappropriate to the times. Only public displays of affection were acceptable for family members and would otherwise be ridiculed. She would be persecuted for loving her groom outwardly.
  2. Her preference would be to have had a relationship with Him since birth...hindsight has drawn her to a conclusion that life is so much better with Him along side her that she wishes that her relationship had begun much earlier.
  3. In more cases than none, a family tie is much deeper, more forgiving and longer lasting than that of just friendship. Her hope is that this relationship is just as that...forever!
Although we may be ridiculed for our belief in God, we should be more than willing to proclaim our love for Him in a public setting, knowing that His blood was shed for us, we are His family, we are forgiven and our relationship with Him, is forever!
"For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
Matthew 12:50
We see the bride's desire to return to her "mother's house"...the place where she was first taught....her home. This place (church) is familiar to her, a place where she feels comfortable to serve. This place has many others that were raised with her or who aided in raising her. People who love, support and encourage her. People who believe as she believes, serves as she serves, worship as she worships! 
"...let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together...but encouraging one another..." 
Hebrews 10:24-25
She wants to serve her groom "spiced wine"...fresh, sweet, new...her very best! Her desire, her prayer is that as she continues to grow in her relationship with Him, she will be able to serve those around her with her very best. Giving to them as He gave to her...offering the same grace as she was given. Not to just those who are in her (church) family but beyond to those who ridiculed her in the past. 

That is my desire...to offer grace not just to those who love me and support me but to those who condemn  and persecute me as well....just as Jesus did! Now that is a perfect and powerful love!

Please pop over to My Freshly Brewed Life and see what Barbie has pulled from these verses.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

wlw: coming off a plateau

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It's been such a hit and miss with my "big loser" posts lately! Much of the reason is because I have not had much to post about...because I had hit a plateau, which just happens to be the topic of the week!! Alicia from Confessions of a Snowflake is on her monthly sabbatical from Social Media and has called upon Kris from Eclipsed to host this week! Both of these women are such an encouragement in their journey for a healthier me and although I have not been linking up every week, I still follow along, reading as many of the link up posts as I can!
If you are on a weight loss journey of your own, I encourage you to check them out. Great words of encouragement, information, inspiration, tips and recipes. The authenticity from each of the ladies is a reminder that we are not in this alone....that we have each other for support but more importantly we have God on our side!
I love the words that Alicia reminds each of us every week: "Quitting is NOT an option!" and so as I continue on my journey, whether in big strides (like last week at -1.8lbs) or little strides, or even plateaus, I will be remember never to give up and to look to Him for guidance!

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Monday, September 26, 2011

married in the mud

I want to share a very special day with you (and the reason why I have been sorta MIA for a few days) ! This weekend my Mom-in-love was married to her sweetheart and the man my children call "Papa"....a wonderful addition to our family!! 

Although the weather forecast called for rain for 3 days, which would have included Saturday...our prayers were answered when the sun shone all day! The outdoor wedding proceeded even though the ground was muddy and so were our feet!! But a little mud never hurt anyone, right?
The day was fabulous, with good food, great family, lots of laughs....and some tears. 

A "JOY" filled day!

beautiful fall decor

"Boo", her cousin and "Bubba"

The Bride and her Groom
Congratulations Mom and Ed...we love you and pray that your life is filled with Love and Joy! God bless you both!
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

out of love, not duty

Last week we saw that the brides desire was to serve...our desire should be to serve, to obey the call! Barbie from My Freshly Brewed Life said it perfectly:
"My heart's cry is that I would be quick to obey, out of love, not out of duty"
With this as our goal....to want to serve, let's see how the bride continues to respond to her groom in these final verses of Song of Solomon 7.
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11 Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside,
   let us spend the night in the villages.
12 Let us go early to the vineyards
   to see if the vines have budded,
if their blossoms have opened,
   and if the pomegranates are in bloom—
   there I will give you my love.
13 The mandrakes send out their fragrance,
   and at our door is every delicacy,
both new and old,
   that I have stored up for you, my beloved.



The bride now longs to spend time alone with her groom. These verses make apparent our need to spend time with God alone, not just at the beginning or end of the day, but at all times during the day. These times are not only for council, instruction and comfort from God but also a time where we can share our thanks and praises, our wants, desires and even our grievances to Him. This time is where we bond with our groom, our Father, our God, our Friend! This time is where we prepare to head out into the world and share with the world, not because we have to but because we choose to....because we love Him!
2Tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the flock of God that is [your responsibility], not by coercion or constraint, but willingly; not dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits [belonging to the office], but eagerly and cheerfully;
    3Not domineering [as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons] over those in your charge, but being examples (patterns and models of Christian living) to the flock (the congregation).  1 Peter 5:2-3
It is so important to begin our day with Him, "go early to the vineyards" vs 12. When vineyards is used it can represent our own private life or the life of someone else. As believers, we need to realize how important it is that we examine our own life and soul every day and to make sure we are abounding in fruit, walking in forgiveness and acting in grace. Before entering into another person's vineyard to help them, to nurture them, to guide them, we need to know whether our "fruit" is ready. 
"see if the vines have budded,
if their blossoms have opened,
   and if the pomegranates are in bloom"
Sometimes the fruit needs to be nurtured and nourished and other times it is ripe and ready to be shared with others. Only God can help us identify which stage our fruit is at. When our fruit is ripened and ready to share with others, it is a beautiful fragrance to God. The ability to nurture others is a sweet, sweet smell!

15 For we are a sweet savor of Christ unto God, in them that are saved, and in them that perish;  2 Corinthians 2:15

It is with this, that we should take our lead from the bride...placing everything in the hands of the groom...the old and the new, the good and the bad.  We did not choose Him, He chose us and excepted us just as we are...but He loves us to much to leave us that way. His desire is to see us grow in Him. We love Him because He loves us, He always has and always will and because of this, we should want to except His call, to serve, to obey, to share this love with others....out of love, not duty! 
19 We love because he first loved us. 
1 John 4:19

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Monday, September 19, 2011

get the message?

Have you ever had it happen, where God wants you....NEEDS you to 'get the message'? Where something is placed in your lap on more than one occasion, in a very short period of time? Sometimes we don't get it right away....other times the message is as clear as day!! That's what happened to me this past week! 

This past few weeks I have been a little overwhelmed...to say the least! But when I am overwhelmed, stressed, behind in tasks, not feeling up to par....my mood changes...it truly reflects the difficulty I am having! I have a hard time finding a "happy" place when all I feel like doing is screaming...or crying! I find it difficult to pull out the positive in the negative! But God has made it very apparent that I need to change my outlook! 

Let me break it down for you and show you God's message for me!
  • A week or so ago I received a book in the mail that I had ordered called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp and it is truly inspiring...encouraging me to find the joy in everything I do.
  • On Friday, I joined LisaJo for Five Minute Friday where our prompt for writing was "JOY"
  • I was introduced to an inspiring woman, Sara, who in her last days here on earth before she goes home to meet her Maker, is and has been Choosing Joy throughout her illness
  • On Saturday I was studying Galatians 5 and the fruits of the spirit and "JOY" was the word that popped out at me, which led me to jot down a few thoughts
  • That evening I headed to the youth center where I volunteer and shared my thoughts as a devotion with the other leader there
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Are you seeing a pattern yet? Well, it didn't end there!! Because when God wants you to "get it" He always makes sure to reinforce it!!
  •  Sunday morning...I am on the worship team...we gathered for prayer before service and our pastor ask if  any of us had a verse or thought to share from our own personal study that week. I shared my word "JOY" and Galatians 5:22-23....and the choice to be filled with joy in everything
  • Our pastor was preaching from Philippians that morning...one of the most joy-filled books of the Bible written by Paul from prison, stressing that we learn to be content in all our circumstances
So...it is apparent to me, to find "JOY" in everything I do!! Even when the circumstances don't fuel joy....even when I feel like crying or screaming....which I probably still will...but I will make continual strides to pursue contentment and embrace everything in a joyful spirit! Will you join me?
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Friday, September 16, 2011

joy


Today I am linking up with The Gypsy Mama for her 5 Minute Friday challenge.
This is a chance to write from the heart....no editing, no backtracking, no over thinking. Just let it out from the heart to the screen in 5 minutes with only a prompt for inspiration. (the added picture and verse are not included in the time limit)
Today's Prompt: JOY

Ready, GO!

To be honest, I am not even sure where to go with this. 

Am I a joyful person?...not always...why? Because not all the circumstances in my life create, promote Joy. I love to laugh and smile, tell jokes and funny stories, but is that really Joy?

This week I was introduced to a young lady, Sara....her blog is entitled "Choose Joy"....sounds wonderful. I began to read bits and pieces this morning....and cried, wept....the tears started and they still fall. This young woman is dying....she will meet her Maker soon and yet in her illness over the last 4 years(i think that's right)she has chosen to be filled with Joy.

I have so much, an amazing husband, five wonderful children, a roof over my head, food on my table, the ability to run, dance, sing, laugh...we are all healthy...yet Joy is not always my choice. 

Sara, is an inspiration to choose Joy...to consider troubles an opportunity to be Joyful, knowing that a faith test will indeed grow endurance and in that I will be perfect and complete...needing nothing and to be honest...I do need nothing!!

STOP!
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

4 years!

When we met, I have to be honest....it wasn't "love" at first sight!
He was to 'geeky' and I thought I was too cool!
We made great friends...we laughed and shared stories of our life experiences.
We hung out often....daily!
Did I ever think I would marry this man?...NOPE!!
But God had other plans....and so here we are....4 years later!
I am blessed to be married to my best friend, 
the man who makes me laugh, 
who has seen me through many ups and many downs, 
who never left my side in times of struggle and loss.
A man who tells me I am beautiful...and means it!
A man who knows every part of me....and still excepts me!
A man who loves my kids...and our kids!
A man who loves God!


Thank you, Ryan for never giving up your pursuit of me, thank you for loving me just as I am, thank you for being a man who aims to put God first in everything and is willing to admit failure. Thank you for teaching and showing forgiveness, love, kindness and compassion. Thank you for being you!!
Happy Anniversary!!

"I am my beloved's and
my beloved is mine..."
Song of Solomon 6:3
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

response to the call

I am joining Barbie from My Freshly Brewed Life to continue our study from the Song of Solomon. Last week it was made very apparent that the bride's calling was to go and nurture others...not alone, but with her groom right along side of her. We will continue chapter 7:9b-10 to see how she responds to her calling.
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 May the wine go straight to my beloved,
   flowing gently over lips and teeth.

10 I belong to my beloved,
   and his desire is for me.






The intimate relationship of the bride and groom is strong and the immediate response of the bride is to share the wine of her groom with others. Wine speaks of joy...the joy that overflows from being filled with the spirit and teeth(chapter 4)is in reference to the ability to swallow and digest and in turn spread His word.We are called to spread the love of God, His word and His joy and it is that joy that gives us strength to go and fulfill our calling!
"...for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
Nehemiah 8:10b
There is unity in the relationship and the bride expresses that when she states "I belong to my beloved" but she doesn't end there. She goes on to say "his desire is for me".  The brides maturity has opened her eyes to see that her groom not only desires her, but has always desired her. 

God has always desired us from the very beginning and it is with this knowledge that we can proclaim that we belong to Him. He is our strength. Rather than asking 'what can God do for me', we now ask, 'how can I serve you more?'
"Since you are my rock and my fortress,
   for the sake of your name lead and guide me."
Psalm 31:3 

God, I pray that you will lead me, guide me....how can I serve you more?

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

a good book and a good cup of coffee

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE coffee...a little way too much!! I also love to read and have a special spot in my home where I begin my mornings in devotion and prayer! The perfect start to any day!!
A few months ago, I had a chance to participate in a giveaway that my friend, Barbie was hosting and to my amazement, I won!! I was given a $20 gift for DaySpring. So of course, what else would I put my fabulous gift towards....a book and coffee cups!!!

The cups have an inscription inside with a Bible verse from the Song of Solomon and the book is called "One Thousands Gifts" by Ann Voskamp, which I just recently saw described as today's story of the Song of Solomon. Of course, this all intrigues me because of the Bible Study I have been joining in on with Barbie. Some would call it coincidence...I am thinking it is a "God thing" and can't wait to put all the pieces together, as He would have me see them!!

For now I am going to enjoy this book (and my coffee) which I have only just begun but so far it has been wonderfully challenging and beautifully inspiring...a book I am sure I will read more than once!
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Monday, September 12, 2011

Beth Moore...a truly God inspired messenger

I had an awesome opportunity to go to the Beth Moore simulcast on Saturday! I don't think I can even put into words the impact this day had on me.  The presence of God filled this room and these woman. The essence of the Holy Spirit was at sometimes overwhelming yet so desired and invited. 
The whole day was filled with the teaching of the word, worship in music and prayer, fellowship and of course laughter and tears. All of which I needed.

Beth began the day stating that there were over 180,000 woman(and a few men) that were being reached all over the world!! Imagine the impact that these woman can have when filled with the Holy Spirit! And then these words...hit me right where I sat...and I knew this day was for me!!
"We think that we have come for Him, but He has come for us!"
sorry for the blur
The days teachings were about Luke, the physician, a 2nd generation Christian. She shared about Luke and his desire to share the story of Jesus, whom he had never met as well as his relationship with Paul. This man inspired Beth to share some points that spoke right to my heart. 
again, slightly blurr
I think the most important thing I got out of this day is that we are NOT alone. I am not alone! Not only do I have God on my side but I am also building real, authentic, loving, caring, supportive friendships with woman who inspire me, hold me accountable and help me grow as a woman, a mother, a wife and a follower of Jesus. It is with these relationships that I can stop being "TCTBB"(see picture below for explanation)
I just want to share with you some of the words that Beth used that really hit home, and that I am continuing to ponder and pray about!

"put the 'company' back into accompany"

"disobedience deforms the heart,
obedience forms the heart"

"we tend to gaurd our dignity from an epiphany"

"God has NOT lost me!"

"Jesus is my hermeneutic" 
hermeneutic: a method or principle of interpretation

 although we live in a "we" society, we can not be the 'one and only' 
because Jesus is the "One and Only", we are an also....let's be also's for Jesus!"

"Jesus became a friend of sinners, so we could become a friend of God"

Put the 'I' back in 'love you'....say it, "I Love You"

"You can't live a godly life.....without God!"

"My God is Faithful"
This is just touching on the message of the day....Beth was amazing to listen to and is such a passionate woman of God. I am so glad I had the chance to attend and to share the day with ladies that I do call friend and who I love. I am glad we were able to open up and share with each other building that authentic, loving caring relationship with God as our center.
chocolate is necessary to get through a big day!
I want to share with you a song that Travis Cottrell led at the very beginning of the day called

Just listen to the words....they are so powerful and I am sure they will meet you right where you are!

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

wlw: lazy days

Yes! I have been avoiding posting for 2 weeks now....not because I have fallen off the band wagon, but because I have been....well let's face it....lazy! I wanted to tell you that life has gotten in the way, with back to school and new routines, weather changes and the list goes on, but truly there has been no reason to post because I haven't done anything to post about.

this is how i have been feeling
I haven't lost weight, but I haven't gained either! 

I haven't been eating wonderful healthy meals, but I haven't been eating all junk either...notice I said all junk, so yes there has been some!

I haven't added any fabulous exercise routine but I am walking everyday!

So, here it is...life didn't get in the way....lazy did and this week I am going to try and break that cycle!!

On a good note, although I am missing weigh-in this morning...I am headed off to a Beth Moore conference. I will post more on that later!! I am so excited!!
Have a wonderful weekend !!
I am linking up with Alicia at:

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Friday, September 9, 2011

in real life

me...in real life
It's Friday and I am joining up with The Gypsy Mama for 5 Minute Friday!

Just a chance to spill out what is jumping off the end of the tongue....no editing, no back tracking, no over thinking. Just a chance to share what is in my heart and/or mind with only a prompt to go on.
Today's prompt: in real life

READY! GO! 

in real life...
I drink too much coffee

in real life...
I spend too much time on the computer or watching TV

in real life...
I speak loudly, sing loudly, laugh loudly, yell even louder
...let's face it, I'm just loud!

in real life...
I don't always make dinner
...sometimes take out is good enough

in real life...
I don't like early mornings and I love late nights

in real life...
I have young ones who don't let me sleep in

in real life...
I have a husband, a best friend that I love more than anything in this world
...but I don't tell him or show him often enough

in real life...
I worry too much and don't trust enough

in real life...
I try to go it on my own before I call on God

in real life...
even after I hand it over to Him
...I still take it back and worry on it again

in real life...
I am a mess
...but in His eyes, a beautiful mess!

Thank God that He loves little ole me in my real life!!

STOP!!
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

never alone

Last week, in our song of Solomon study, we saw the spiritual growth of the bride as she was declared "a princess". This week as we continue reading chapter 7, we will see the groom continue to affirm His bride and prepare her for the next step. Read with me verses 6-9.

Photobucket 6 How beautiful you are and how pleasing,
   my love, with your delights!
7 Your stature is like that of the palm,
   and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
8 I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
   I will take hold of its fruit.”
May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine,
   the fragrance of your breath like apples,
 9 and your mouth like the best wine. 



Such a beautiful testament to the maturity of the bride from the eyes of her groom. He confirms how smitten He is in her when he calls her "my love". A term of endearment showing that He wants to be in communion with her....forever. God wants to be in communion with us...forever! His desire is for us to want to continue to grow spiritually, to continue to share this love with others and to take time to meditate on His word. 
"We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ."
1 John 1:3 
The groom continues listing the qualities of His ever maturing bride. He sees her as his righteous queen...gracious, flourishing, and beautiful, mature and ready to nurture others. The comparison to a palm tree rather than any other tree is symbolic in that it is constantly green and flourishing, and grows upward in spite of all pressures. This signifies the spiritual growth and strength of the bride(even in times of trial)and of victory....not of ourselves but through Him.
"For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory."
Deuteronomy 20:4
Whether we are being persecuted, dealing with trials and tribulation, witnessing and sharing our faith or pondering and meditating on His word, it is made apparent that we are not/cannot do this alone but only through Him, with Him.
“I will climb the palm tree;
   I will take hold of its fruit.”
We abide in Him and He in us. He is the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5). The intimacy of the relationship between the bride and her groom, God and His church is evident and shows that God Himself is preparing us, encouraging us to nurture others, to share with others speaking truth, to love one another and be compassionate and then to return to be filled again with His Holy Spirit.
"Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts."  Colosians  3:16
I am so thankful that I am one of His chosen, that I am forgiven, that I am growing in Him and now with Him by my side, have the ability to share His grace and mercy with others. Come back next week as we see how the bride expresses her thankfulness to her groom.

Barbie, of My Freshly Brewed Life also shares her insight on these verses...check it out!
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

hi ho hi ho...it's off to school we go!

Where did the summer go? 
Although the weather has changed and has become cool, grey and kind of  dismal, "Boo" was not as she headed off to Kindergarten! She was very excited to return to school today and headed off with absolutely no fear, anticipating the reconnection of her friends from last year and ecstatic to find out she had the same teacher.



I guess "Boo" has decided this year she is 'all grown up' because she didn't want mommy to bring her camera out of the car and take a bunch of pictures as she headed into class like last year. She did allow me to capture one picture of the two of us in the car before she ran off to meet her friends!!

As fast as summer went by, "Boo" grew up! 
Next year "Bubba" heads off and then mommy is on her own....what will I do then??



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Monday, September 5, 2011

melodious monday:we are the free

My wonderful husband purchased this new album from Matt Redman, "10,000 Reasons"....fabulous!! I love all the songs on it. Last Monday I shared my very favorite, "10,000 Reasons(Bless the Lord)". This week I am going to share another song from this album.

We are the free...but Yours is the glory!!

 Enjoy and have a blessed week!!
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

happy anniversary

Happy 46th Anniversary
Mom and Dad



Your commitment to each other
Is so evident to us
Through all the ups and downs of life
You’ve learned how to trust
We pray that as you celebrate
The love you both share
You’ll sense the love and grace of God
And know He’s always near

Written By M.S.Lowndes

Have a wonderful day celebrating 46 years together....even though you thought it was on 44...hehehe!
We love you, Ryan and Kerri
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

new friends

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Friends come in many forms...some we know for a life time, some are only there for a season, but all are there for a reason! Recently, I have made two new friends via the blogging world. Both of these ladies have wonderful blogs which I encourage you to check out.

Alicia, writes at Confessions of a Snowflake, encouraging Christian women in their faith walk. She has a link up on Wednesdays for weight loss, which is where I met Alicia. This link up is a great way to stay accountable during a weight loss journey and also a great way to find and meet friends who are traveling that same path! Alicia has been very encouraging during this time for me and I thank her for all of the advice, reassurance and pats on the back during this up and down trek, it means the world to me to have someone in my corner that "gets" it!! I also want to thank Alicia for choosing me as her Friday Feature Snowflake, this week. This FFS post is where Alicia shares with her readers, the grace of God through testimony. I am grateful for this opportunity to share my testimony of what God has done in my life. Jump over and visit Alicia and check out her Facebook page as well as she shares pieces of her life and what God is doing in it!!

My Freshly Brewed LifeBarbie writes at My Freshly Brewed Life, sharing her heart and passion for Jesus. This is expressed in everything she writes from memes that she partakes in to her weekly writings, as well as her Song of Solomon Bible study, which is where I really grew to know her. Barbie's heart for the Lord is such an inspiration and linking with her during this study has not only grown my own heart and passion for Jesus but has placed a new found friend into my life whom I cherish. A week or so ago, I received an email from Barbie requesting to feature my blog (I didn't realize it was going to fall on the same weekend as Alicia's FFS) and I am very honored that I was chosen. Take the time to look around Barbie's blog and check out her art, I know you will be blessed when you pop over there. Also check out her Facebook page and see how God is working in her life.

Both of these women are wonderful encouragement, inspiring mentors and beautiful ladies who I am blessed to call friend. I thank God for placing them in my life and look forward to growing our friendships. I pray you are touched by their blogs, I certainly have been.


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