Moments in Time

Week 5

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“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second,” 

-Marc Riboud

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I remember taking each of these pictures and they still invoke in me the sensations I felt at the moment I was taking them. The rose was still beautiful after an early frost, at my mother’s grave sight; the warm and bright sunny day at my dads with his flowers in full bloom; the cold winter afternoon visiting my mom in the cemetery; an early fall day driving in the country near my home just to view this huge gorgeous tree; at home watching a  thunderstorm with cold front moving across the sky in early fall; bushes budding in early spring at home; a warm summer afternoon in the country near the huge gorgeous tree, I can still feel the warmth of the setting sun and smell the tar bubbling on the pavement.

I just found this video and I thought it was beautiful and wanted to share it with you.  I would like to also say that all of our moments are gifts from God, He alone is Savior and Creator of all.  I hope you enjoy the video.

A Time for Everything 

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Ecclesiastes%203:1-8&version=NIV

~Blessings and Peace~

Week 4 – Atmosphere

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S&P Team posted on Sep. 2, 2018 at 1:03am
Week of September 2, 2018: Creating an Atmosphere

Happy September, Contemplative Photographers,

This week’s project idea comes from Margret E. She is interested in creating atmosphere with a photograph. For example: an atmosphere of peace, joy, love, agitation, even holiness. You may want to add a commentary explaining the atmosphere you want to convey.

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I have spent the past week reviewing old photos as well as trying to connect with the world around me to invoke a sense of atmosphere.  I was a bit discouraged for two reasons, one many things inspire and encourage me on a daily basis and I just couldn’t identify the “one” thing that sums it all up.  Secondly, because I felt like I was making this much harder than it needed to be. That’s kind of a trait of mine 😀.  Then late last night it all made sense to me, my atmosphere, the space I get to call mine invokes within me Peace, Wholeness, Security, Friendship, Dreams, Hopes, Love, Serenity, Humbleness, Forgiveness, Laughter, Longings, the Past, the Present and the Future, Faith, Salvation, God’s Presence, God Himself. My bedroom is filled with all these wonderful things, my atmosphere is my sanctuary and I get so go to sleep at night with them and I am greeted by the in the morning.  A brief description of the photos left to right and numbered for ease of identification. 

  1. A picture of me with my mom, a card I received when my mom passed away, and a bracelet I bought for myself after my mom passed.  I also gave the same bracelet to two dear friends  I’ve known for more than 30 years, we all have said goodbye to our moms and are waiting to see them again in Heaven.  Bracelet inscription, “A Mother’s love is the first gift we know, one we never outgrow.”
  2. The large photo I took of a sunrise over Montgomery County many years ago, it reminds me of my youth and the lessons I learned way back when, the painting I did several years ago while participating in during Lenten season years ago, I no longer attend that church but this pictures reminds me of it and of the House I once owned because I painted it in our garage. 
  3. I attended a painting party with a special friend, it was so much fun.  The frame is a certificate of my Baptism, lovely memories of the experience and the people who shared it with me.  
  4. Wall art to inspire me, to reassure me and for my own validation that I am loved by God and I am His!
  5. Wall art above my headboard and a picture of my mom and dad. 
  6. Wall art next to my books and chair and a board with memories posted. Photo of my niece and nephew, a personalized angel ornament from someone special, a broken wristband that says “Love-Forgive-Accept” two cross necklaces, three four leaf clovers and a bookmaker with my mom’s obituary printed on one side and Ecclesiastes 3 on the other..
  7. Wall art and a framed photo from Long Lake, Minnesota.  Beautiful memories of summer vacations while attending college and blessed to have a family invite me to stay there.  I learned to water ski during those trips and enjoyed canoeing and sailboating. 
  8. Dried flowers from my moms funeral and a beautiful handmade birthday card from my very best friend.
  9. An embroidered pillow and screened photo of me and my mom.  A memory box that contains a prayer shawl made by the women of my church give to me for my mom. Books…I love my books.
  10. Wall art, a button art picture made and given to me by a friend, picture of me with a cat I had a long time ago.
  11. Willow figurines the mother/daughter was given to me by my Aunt when my mom passed away and the two girls sitting was given to me by a dear friend.

Dear friends, we all have the opportunity to create an  atmosphere for ourselves.  I know that I am extremely blessed and I do not take for granted the material things I have but more importantly than things is our memories.  We have the ability to take them with us everywhere and they are our own, we can share them with other or we can keep them inside and protected if needed.  I miss my mom terribly but it does not keep me from living.  The best way I can honor my mother is to live the life she envisioned for me.  She did not place any limitations upon me nor did she limit my view of the world by insisting that I see the world only through her eyes.  I think the greatest gift she ever gave me was her unconditional love.  Do you know what’s even more wonderful than this…God loves me and you UNCONDITIONALLY!  God is waiting with arms open wide to receive each of us.  There’s no prerequisite needed to be loved and accepted.  God wants us right now, no matter where we are or where we’ve been.  If you want to be part of God’s family just ask Him!

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, I am blessed to be able to share my faith with you.

~Blessings and Peace~

Thoughtful Gift

I’m excited to share with you a birthday gift I received from a very dear friend.  She blessed me with a photography course online with http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com called “Contemplative Photographers Practice Group, Year 4!”  The course invites the participants to share photos that are relatable to the quote of the week.  I participated in this course during year 2 and I loved it. I wanted to share them on my blog. So far I have completed 3 weeks. The photos can be either taken by me or one that I admire.  One can tell a lot through a photograph! I hope you like them.

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“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
Week # 1
“An open, aware heart is your camera.

A oneness with your world is your film.”
— Ansel Adams

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Week # 2
The extravagant gesture is the very stuff of creation.
— Annie Dillard
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Week # 3

This week, be on the lookout for everyday objects that tell a story. The candlestick that you used for three days straight during the blizzard when the power went out. The door knocker that brings to mind one particular life-changing visit. The name tag that you keep on your kitchen windowsill to remind you of the best dog ever. If you look closely at the things around you, you will discover that more of them carry stories than you ever would have imagined with a mere passing glance.
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“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
~Blessings and Peace~

Control – Love – Concern

Hello friends –

It has been over a month since I’ve written any blogs/posts, not because of writers block just too many ideas floating about my head.  This past month has been very challenging to me and I’ve been kind of stuck.  I’ve had to remind myself that most of the things that are causing me stress I have absolutely “NO CONTROL” over.  Also, I had to reflect upon the lessons I’ve learned over the past year.  One of the biggest accomplishment has been recognizing boundaries for healthier living.  Another important discovery was realizing that every situation is not as simple as one person being right and another person being wrong.  Actual, if someone is right about a specific topic doesn’t mean the other person is wrong.  Of course, there’s at least two sides of every story.  *Example: “I can say the sky is blue and I would be correct.”  Someone else could say, “The sky is grayish.”  And they would/could be correct.  My perspective is determined by my experiences as well as my health.  If my eye sight were deficient to distinguish colors I may never know what blue might be.  Recently, my frustrations regarding my job had drastically affected my overall attitude while at work.  I allowed someone else’s management style which is quite different from mine to steal my joy.  In actuality, I gave and allowed my joy to be taken and silenced.  I became bitter, irritable, withdrawn and angry.  None of this was helpful and it only made me miserable, the object of my frustration never even knew what I was struggling with.  So…decision time, continue down this senseless road or decide to concentrate of what I have control of and make changes.  Then, I needed to identify things that I have concerns about and be completely honest with myself…why does this bother me so much (?).  It was then when I realized something very profound…
I am Charlotte,
I am a child of God,
I am a daughter,
I am a granddaughter,
I am a sister,
I am an aunt,
I am a cousin,
I am a friend to…many and I’m blessed,
Charlotte’s job is what she does NOT who she is!  I am not my job, you are not your job.  I work to earn money to live and pay bills and  to support things I care deeply about.  Honestly, if I were not in need of money I would still want to do the job I currently have.  I love my job, I have some wonderful coworkers and I am energized performing the duties required by my position.  I feel part of something bigger than myself and I truly respect and hold dear some of my work relationships that have formed over time.  My job allows me to interact with a wide variety of people on different levels and in multiple areas and locations.
There’s freedom in letting go of the stuff we can’t control.  Front the very first time we take a breath, we are exposed to things we will never have control over or of.  As I started to think about these things, I realized it’s not a bad thing…I can’t control the weather, I can’t control the sun, I can’t control time, I can’t control what other people think or say, the list goes on and on and on…
What I do have control of…
My attitude,
My temper,
My language,
My memberships,
My beliefs,
My friends,
My money,
My decor,
My car,
My likes,
My dislikes…
I cannot take all the credit for these insightful things, God has and continues to bless me though I am not worthy.  God’s divine grace and unconditional love engulfs me. I have a family that loves me, a church family that loves me, friends that love me, and just as important I am learning to live myself.  Love has to include loving ourselves, it’s difficult to love others when we don’t like ourselves.  It’s similar to the air-mask on a plane, if you’ve ever flown the instructions for placing the air-mask on is to put it on yourself first l, then you can help others.  *See reference below great blog!
“We love Him, because He first loved us. If a man say, “I love God,” and hateth his brother, he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loveth God love his brother also.”
My hope and prayer is that you love yourself and that you know and experience God’s love.

What does the Bible say?

1. Psalm 139:14 I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.

2. Ephesians 5:29 For no one has ever hated his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, as the Messiah does the church.

3. Proverbs 19:8 To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish understanding will prosper.

Love others as you love yourself. 

4. 1. Mark 12:31 The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.

5. Leviticus 19:34 Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

6. James 2:8  Nevertheless, you are doing the right thing if you obey the royal Law in keeping with the Scripture, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.”

7. Leviticus 19:18 “You are not to seek vengeance or hold a grudge against the descendants of your people. Instead, love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”

~Blessings and Peace~

References:

Anger, Is It a Bad Thing (?)

 

Do you ever get angry? What sort of things stir or ignite your anger?
ANGER  : a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism. 
               : to make (someoneangry.
 
ANGRY feeling or showing anger.
              : indicative of or proceeding from anger.
 
I am sharing with you today from a very personal vantage point about anger and being angry.  I do not have any special skills or have a PhD in behavioral science; I only have my own trials and errors along with some sound guidance from learned mentors in my life.  I also have the very best teacher and friend I’ve ever known that is my constant hope and help, God! 
 
I think it is a fair statement to say we have all experienced feelings of anger or been angry at someone or something at least once in our lives.  What do you remember about that experience? Do you remember if anyone gave you advice about the issue?  Was it encouragement or was it more of a case of reverse psychology.  I’m guessing at least one person said this to you, “Calm down, it’s not that big of a deal!”  Or something very similar to those words. I don’t know about anyone else but when I get worked up the last thing I want to do is calm down! Any ideas as to why this is the case? I would like to make a point of distinction here about the differences in getting angry verses always being angry.  I am not speaking about individuals who are perpetually angry and exhibit violence, that is an entirely different scenario than what I am wanting to talk about.  I’m simply saying that in life things happen that stir up feelings of anger and manifest itself through our senses and we become angry. But why?  Have you ever ask yourself, “why does this bother me?”  Maybe we should also ask ourselves, “should this bother me?”  These questions can only be answered when we are completely honest with ourselves, only then will we begin to understand who we are at our very core.  As we learn and grow from infancy through childhood, adolescence into adulthood our experiences inform us and help develop our moral compass, if you will.  We learn right from wrong, differences in good and bad, all these things help to formulate our values.  Most of us form our values with little self direction or discretion, we simply began to mimic the behaviors that we observed and learned from others as we grew because we trusted those individuals.  It’s a natural instinct (I believe that is within our being) to foster and protect others.  If you’re a parent, you probably get this and want only the best for your child/children.  Even if you’re not a parent, there’s probably at least one or two people you’ve met in your life that you wanted to protect, keep safe or just look out for.  Now imagine something or someone wanted to harm that person (?) how do you react?  *That precise feeling is our “anger” and our response action/reaction  is us being “angry.”
 
Let’s get back to the “why” behind the anger.  I had someone who I trust and look up to, tell me that our anger is often in direct relationship to something we care about. It makes complete sense, people who march in protest do so because they feel strongly about the issue.  I don’t think many people would volunteer to do so just for the “fun” of it.  People who are compassionate about causes will make sacrifices to be heard and recognized. Sometimes people get angry because they feel like they have been cheated or taken advantage of, while others see injustice and suffering around them and they must act no matter how insignificant it might seem.  I am purposely not mentioning any specific situations or causes because that is not what God has placed upon my heart, I believe the message that God gave me to share is awareness of the “why” of anger and angry.  Which is way different from liking or disliking something. This can all become very deep and philosophical but that’s not my intention.  We all have the right to have our own convictions about life and of the decisions we make.  As a Christian, and a follower of Jesus Christ, I am able to worship as I choose to and with that comes the responsibility that others also have that same right.  When I am able to enjoy and participate in activities of my own choosing then I must extend that same right to others that do so differently.  This is sometimes difficult to understand and be a part of but I can only pursue my hopes and dreams when everyone else has the same opportunities that I do.  
 
I personally cannot make anyone worship and believe in God as I do.  Nor would I try, what I can do is live a life that others might see and that can open opportunities for conversations and introduce people to the God I serve.  Living and teaching through our actions is often better than any words we speak. 
I’m not happy all the time, I’m not sad all the time, sometimes I am in a hurry and other times I just rest, it’s called being human and our humanity can be the cruelest of all things. God did not call me to be perfect, He calls me to be in relationship with Him. To talk with Him daily and to share my hopes, dreams, fears, accomplishments and aspirations, and yes, even my mistakes and disappointments, sharing all of me with Him.  
 
God calls us to Himself.   
 
We are uniquely created by Him.  
 
We each have a purpose and plan.  
 
Hebrews 9:15
“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance —now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”
1 Peter 5:10
“And the God of all grace, who called you unto his eternal glory in Christ, after that ye have suffered a little while, shall himself perfect, establish, strengthen you.”
Jude 1:1-2
“Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.”
Ephesians 2:10
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
 
Jeremiah 29:11-13
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
 
Psalm 139:13
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
In closing, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my blog and if you’re a follower, a second THANK YOU!  May you see and/or feel God in your life today! Amen.
~Blessings and Peace~
 
References:

(Best) Friend

How would you best describe your best friend?  Are there specific characteristics you would use or personality traits?  What might be attributes of a best friend?

For me the idea and meaning of a best friend has changed as I have grown and experienced different stages of life.  I remember my childhood and the group of neighborhood kids that I spent countless days riding bicycles and playing baseball or kickball.  My teen years were spent trying to be “cool” and “accepted” just like every other teenager.  Friends become boyfriends or girlfriends and best friends are those we share our deepest secrets and dreams with.  The college years sometimes means a stronger bond with your friends from high school or the creation of new “best friends.”  What I’ve learned so far in my life is that I’ve been blessed with some amazing friends while traveling on this journey called “Life!”  I have also learned that the qualities of a best friend while in high school or college can be quite different from a best friend later in life.  With that being said, I believe that the one thing that never changes is the trust component of a best friend.

I have a favorite poem that has been very special to me for several years and it continues to teach me to this very day.

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.” ~Flavia Weedn

I have been so blessed to have had wonderful friends throughout my life, some I have been able to maintain contact  with and some I have not spoken with for a very long time.  I have beautiful memories of all these individuals who left footprints on my heart.

My best friend encourages me through actions and thought-provoking questions. She doesn’t provide answers to my questions, she encourages me to search.  She is truthful and honest, she is patient and thoughtful.  She is intentional in her actions and her words.  She is respectful and sincere.  She would caution me to tell you that she is human and makes mistakes just like everyone else, she is not perfect.  After all, we are all human!

The best word I can use to describe my best friend is “humble” she displays “humility.”  A phrase that makes me think of her is “Trust in the Lord” and “Trust the Plan.”  The fall season/foliage, the turning of the leaves makes me think of her and the joy she receives as she views the many shades and hues of yellow, golden, red, crimson, brown and green, as fall settles in before winter chases it away.  Her anchor verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 and she has a thirst for knowledge; giving and receiving it.  She’s a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, a cousin, a friend, most importantly she is a child of God!  She’s brave and strong, responsible and reliable, trustworthy and honest. She’s creative and resourceful.

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Best friends are special gifts from God! I encourage you to tell your best friend just how you feel, pray for them and thank God for them. 🤓

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6

~Blessings and Peace~

References: 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Proverbs%203:5-6&version=NIV

Season of Drought

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Surrounded by withering fields
Day after day the scorching sun is relentless
The moon provides respite for a few short hours
The sun returns, it seems earlier day after day
My thirst continues, the quenching seems impossible
My view is narrowed by my own distractions
My fields are temperamental and susceptible
Fertile soil is deep and plenty
Top soil requires repeated kneading to release that which is alive and abundant
May the refreshing of nature’s rain fall upon all that is withering and seeking
In hopes that the field will once again be healthy, nurtured and prosperous
~C.A.Robinson
   June 13, 2018
   0547 (EST)
~Blessings and Peace~

The Plan and Trust, Trust the Plan

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Hello friends!  My hope is that you experience the world in a new way today. Every day is unique and never an exact replica of the day before.  Each new day provides new information that was not available to us the day before.  Some days may seem to be a repeat of the previous day, but please resist that urge to discount the day based upon similarities.  When we  decide to settle for the “same ole same ole” we are cheating ourselves of priceless opportunities.  Most of us can relate to the processes we go through everyday that they seem to be robotic and planned out to the tiniest detail.  A favorite movie line of mine seems perfect for this kind of existence, “A life that is planned is a closed life, my friend. It can be endured perhaps. But it cannot be lived.” (The Inn of the Sixth Happiness).

A life lived for me includes recognizing and believing in God as my Creator and the “Creator” of all things.  In believing comes “Trust”, trusting God and trusting God’s Word.  It really is that simple!  So simple that our human(ness) tricks us into doubting the simplicity of it all, we try to rationalize and critique every little thing that we overwhelm ourselves!  With each new sunrise comes a new day with a clean slate to “trust” in the Lord, a new day to “Trust the Plan!”  God wants only good things for each of us, God loves you and me unconditionally.  God loved us so much He sacrificed His son to pay the debt/penalty of sin.

Sometimes I forget and take for granted that I was fortunate to have godly and God-fearing individuals in my life from a very early age.  While many lessons I learned came from attending church some lessons were a result of watching others actively living by being respectful, saying grace before a meal, through helping someone in need, holding a door, by saying “thank you” and “you’re welcome” by sharing joy and sometimes just smiling to someone for no reason at all.

I am sharing all this information mostly because I needed to hear this message of “Trusting in the Lord” and secondly because I’m feeling overwhelmed.  It was a day filled with unexpected news and uncomfortable circumstances both professionally and personally.  I have been resisting the urge to self-implode because well, that would be a stupid and selfish sabotage of myself!  Secondly, it’s too messy and energy wasted.  I did feel an urgency to write about all this, a “Spirit” thing.  If this cracks a window of hope in a moment of despair for someone it’s a win-win!  I feel better simply from writing/blogging about “Trusting in the Lord/Trusting in the Plan” anything more is glory to God and the work of the Holy Spirit.

The events of the day are for me are winding down and rest is beckoning me for sleep…worry will only serve to rob me of rest and rejuvenation, “Trusting in God and His will for my life will bring comfort and relaxation.

In closing, I want to say “thank you” to a dear friend who challenges me and who inspires me daily through her faith and friendship.   

~Blessings and Peace~

 

Different

Being different (?) (!)

This song came on the radio today as I was driving and the word “DIFFERENT” seemed to formulate in my mind in bold capital letters beckoning for my immediate attention.  Initially I thought of different as opposite from anything or anyone else.  I’m not exactly sure that’s the picture the artist is painting for us.  The beautiful thing about music and art is it’s ability to meet each person in unique and remarkable places.  The vivid picture that was displayed for me today is that God is not asking us to be different as much as He is asking us to be ourselves, the unique person he created us to be, not opposite or in opposition from anyone else.  I know for me personally I have sometimes thought being different meant being unacceptable and not fitting it.  These are the falsehoods that Satan wants us to believe and sometimes the world we experience; however, I believe God wants us to celebrate our uniqueness and share it with the world, as written by Paul in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

I sincerely believe we all desire acceptance on some level, too often we rely and seek this approval from the world, our friends, family and coworkers.  In a general sense I don’t think any of this are particularly wrong the part I question is “why” do we seek their approval?  If it’s merely to receive verbal praise and worthiness in “their” eyes I would say…STOP!  The only true acceptance in placing value on yourself has already been said and established by God before time began.  The hardest thing I have ever done is believe in myself: not what I can do, not what kind of job I have, title I hold, my training or my education; these are additions to me, upgrades if you will.  Believing in myself because God made me and loves me PERIOD!  God loves you and He loves me!  Nothing more nothing less.  Of course, God wants our obedience, time and talents but Hos love is not dependent upon us doing any of these things, His love is unconditional for everyone.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8

“He has shown you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  Micah 6:8

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”  1 John 3:1

Prayer: Thank you God for your unconditional and relentless love. Amen 

~Blessings and Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com