Collected Tears

 

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Journal: Saturday, October 20, 2018

Today was a day of crying and praying and missing my Mom. Of all the people in the world that I can talk to and tell anything, she was always the one I could be the freest with. The one I could count on to comfort me and pray for me; to love me and forgive me when needed. So today was just a day that I really wish I could talk to her. Some days I miss her so much. I need her love, wisdom, thoughtfulness, and care. I know there will always be days like today and it won’t be easy but I know God can be my comfort. I can go to him.  I can take him my heart; I can ask for strength.  He is faithful.  He loves me even more than my mother.

I miss my Ladybug and our late night talks; our inside jokes and laughter; our trips to the Dairy Queen when we’d sneak off without telling the guys; The drives we took in the country when we were restless. I miss all of it. I love her so much. 

You keep track of all my sorrows.
    You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book.                                                               Psalm 56:8 NLT

One of the things I miss the most is talking to my Mom.  Before the Alzheimer’s took so much away from her we would talk constantly. I’d call her or she’d call me and we’d talk about everything and nothing in particular.

Even after the Alzheimer’s I’d call home, Dad would answer the phone but I’d always ask to talk to Mom.  Sometimes she’d talk a while, other times she’d have trouble with the phone. Eventually, she pretty much gave up talking on the phone.

I missed our talks even while she was still living.  There were times I’d tell her things knowing that she didn’t fully comprehend, or remember later, but at the moment she’d try to let me know all would be well.

A few months before she died we had a wonderful conversation about forgiveness.  I’d recently been short with her.  I told her that I was wrong and hadn’t treated her as kindly as I should have.  We talked about forgiveness in general and what it means and I asked her if she would forgive me.  She ever so sweetly said yes she would.  Even though she probably didn’t remember the incident in question and probably didn’t remember our conversation later, at that moment she understood my need to ask forgiveness and she sincerely, without question granted it. Much like she had several years earlier when I had needed to ask for forgiveness. (you can read about that time here)

Growing up, forgiveness always flowed freely. If Mom and I had had a particularly trying day as can sometimes happen, she always made sure before bed that all was well between us.  We would talk things out and I always knew she was there for me.  Even as a small child I remember kneeling beside her to pray about whatever was troubling me. Being the melancholy child that I was it seemed I was always needing to pray or talk about something.

That did not change as a teenager.  We had lots of adventures together.  I remember one summer or two that she spent a lot of time driving me around the countryside chasing a dream of a piano player (not Rocky, that came later) that I thought I was in love with. I also remember having many late night conversations about boys, dreams, life.  It was nothing to stay up until the crack of dawn talking. Even after I had married and moved away from home, we always had at least one all-night talk session when I’d come for visits.  Rocky and Dad would come downstairs of a morning and there we’d be still sitting on the couch.

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One of our adventures at a camp meeting in the mountains of Eastern KY during one of those summers chasing a piano player. The photo bomber also had a daughter, probably chasing the same piano player.

Later, when Rocky came on the scene I wrote her a letter telling her that I was in love and I knew he was the one.  I was in college and cell phones and Facebook didn’t exist, so you either made a long distance call or wrote a letter.  I found that letter last year when going through some of her things. She had kept it all these years. I know my Mama’s level of sentimentality and I know she hung onto that letter to mark a significant time in my life that she rejoiced in with me.

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Rocky and me the early years. Mom always said she couldn’t love him more if he was her son. The minute he came on the scene, he was family and she never let me forget that. She was always on his side. Sigh. I’m glad she loved him that fiercely.

I’ve always shared my everyday life with her.  Each new adventure, each crisis, everyday moments. It was all chronicled with her. And she never failed to cheer me on or commiserate when necessary.  Every new move she was there helping and planning with me even when it took me too far from home.  She never tried to hold me back, but always rejoiced at each new opportunity.

She did tell me, as she grew older, that she missed her daughters and wished they could both move back home. She once offered to give my sister her house if she’d move back home. And my mom really loved her house. She is now buried on the hill facing her house. When Rocky and I moved to Louisville in 2007 she was glad we were closer. She and Dad would come to visit and we would go see them when we could.

In 2010 when we went in with Dad to purchase the house next door to them she was excited for us to fix up the house and be there on breaks, but before we could spend much time there the Alzheimer’s was fast approaching. When we moved there in the summer of 2012 between the seminary and whatever was to come next, it was clear that Alzheimer’s had set in and we were needed.  I know it was a God thing that we had decided to buy the house two years prior when it didn’t really make sense to do so. We had no long-term plans of settling back home once schooling was finished, but home was exactly where we needed to be.

Living there was as it should be.  Mom was restless a lot and had lots of questions about everything in the early days.  She would come to my house for reassurance or sometimes just to chat a moment.  The door was always open for her and sometimes she’d be back and forth several times a day.  We’d have the same conversations, mostly with her trying to make sense of the muddle in her mind.  Memoires were hiding and bits and pieces would show up and she’d need me to help her make sense of it all.  She trusted me and I did all I could to honor that trust.

Even in the difficulty of living with Alzheimer’s, we had some good times and lots of laughter.  I wouldn’t trade those days for anything.  But sometimes I’d miss our old conversations.  The last couple of months before she passed away there were several times I’d think I need to call Mom only to immediately remember that things were different.  I went through a spell in the summer of nesting and tweaking my living room, buying lamps and finally hanging pictures.  All the things I would have discussed with Mom.  So, I called my Dad and shared with him.  I suppose I could have told mom, but I knew it wouldn’t be the same and I also knew that she might not even engage at all on the phone.  I wish I’d tried anyway.

Since her passing, I have had several times where I wish I could talk to her or something will happen and my first thought is to call Mom.  I’ve needed so much to hear her words of wisdom, comfort, and encouragement. I’ve needed to laugh with her. There are times that you just need your mother because no one understands you like she does. In those times I remind myself that God can comfort me and that he truly understands.

I cling to all the hope, dry my eyes, and do my best to live life without my Ladybug.

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. ~~ Washington Irving

Another song for you to listen to, For Those Tears I Died

Grace for the journey,

Teresa

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My mom, the cheerleader (8th grade, Mt. Carmel) standing by the fence in front of their church turned house where they lived in Beechburg, KY.
This home is now a garage and
my best friend recently purchased the property.
My Mom has always been my biggest cheerleader.

Come back tomorrow for more of the journey?  Just a reminder that I usually post later in the day. Clicking on the ladybug graphic will take you to the first page in this series with links to the daily posts. Thanks for reading!

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Prompted By Bloggers (Weekend Toss)

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Today’s post is Part of a 31 Day writing series where I will choose moments from my life and let them be my writing prompt for the day. On Weekends, I sometimes do a Weekend Toss, which is a combination of links to blogs I have enjoyed, or random updates and sometimes a scripture for Sunday.  I have decided to keep the Weekend Toss going, so today’s post will be links to other bloggers in the #Write31days group that I feel prompted to share with you. I hope you click over and check them out. I invite you to come back tomorrow for some Sunday inspiration.

I love to find new blogs to enjoy.  One of the exciting things about the 31 Days writing challenge is having so many blogs in one place.  They are organized into categories which makes it easier to find topics of interest.  Throughout the month of October, I plan to browse each category and find blogs to enjoy. I will highlight some of them here on Saturday’s.  This weeks featured blogs come from two different categories – House & Home and Simplicity & Organizing.

Each image used below was created by the blog owner of that blog as their blog button for the series.  if you click on the image it will take you to their blog.  I hope you enjoy your visits!

1.  It is only fitting that the first blog I feature is Nesting Place, as she is the hostess for this mega blog link-up.  I found her blog in 2008 and have been a follower ever since. She lets us know that our homes don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.  In addition to her lovely home, she recently renovated a barn for hosting events.  I was lucky enough to be in this barn last Saturday with a bunch of writers.  Myquillen was a most gracious host and her sister, Emily Freeman along with Christa Wells were very inspiring and encouraging speakers. In her #write31days series, Myquillen shares how we can “create little moments” for our homes. And barns. With stuff we already have.

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2.  Donna over at Funky Junk Interiors is the queen of junk.  She can take what others would consider trash and turn it into functional junk.  Some of her stuff is amazing.  It makes me wish I knew how to use power tools.  Check out her dream box series, but be sure to check out her project tab as well, you will be impressed.

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3.   Restoration Spring is a new to me blog and I love Michelle’s 31 Day series, Home Recycled.  It is only day 3, but I am totally on board with what she is saying.  It resonates with me because I know exactly what she means.  If only I’d dare to get rid of excess.  I’m hoping this series will challenge me to let go and move on.

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4.  Leanne from Organize and Decorate Everything is helping us be organized in 15 minutes a day.  I may not be able to do everything everyday, but I plan to keep this one on my radar, so that when I am ready to tackle some organization projects I’ll have her tips.  It’s early in the series, but so far I’m loving how she is breaking down the projects.

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5.  Jennifer Buell is sharing her experiences of finding balance among moving boxes.  Oh, Oh, Oh, I can sooooooooooo relate to this one.  I think I’m on address number 20 in 30 years of marriage.  She is talking, not just about the move, but the emotions and how she is finding balance in the process. Whether you have moved in the past, are in the middle of a move, or moving soon, you should be able to relate to all the boxes.

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6.  Ally over at The Bridge Builders Wife started a year long spending fast this past January. I saw an Oprah episode once where a couple had done this and have wanted to attempt it ever since, but alas, this has not happened.  I’m hoping reading about Ally’s journey will inspire me to at least try it for a month or two.  What about you – do you need some tips on how to quit spending?

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Reading in Grace,

Teresa

Speaking Hope

I am excited!  If you know me at all, or have been a keen observer of things that pop up on my blog, then you have probably figured out that three of my passions in life are family, decorating and writing.

I have always loved decorating my home and even considered majoring in interior design in college.  I have had a dream for years, at least since my teens, that I would one day write a book.  For many years all I wanted to be was a homemaker.  When I never had children, I still wanted to be at home, but I always felt guilty for having that desire to not work public work as if somehow I had to have children to justify staying at home.

No matter what my work was, or where I was those three things remained constant.  I’m probably the only person I know who moves in and has pictures hung the same night, even before all the boxes are unpacked.  I am constantly decorating in my head and moving furniture is a regular occurrence at our house.

Writing is something that I finally embraced on a fairly regular basis when we moved to Louisville and I began writing for our church devotional booklets, started a writers group and eventually started this blog.

A couple of years ago when we moved back home, I was presented with the chance to be at home and I am still adjusting.  I love being home, but it has been harder than I imagined it would be.  I have all this time to decorate, nurture family and write.  Finding a regular rhythm has been difficult, but I am so thankful for the opportunity to have the time to pursue all my passions at the same time.

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So, why am I excited you may ask?  I’ll tell you.  Two of my favorite bloggers and their father along with their families, have started a new internet adventure called Hope*ologie.  For a small monthly fee you have access to the wisdom they have garnered over the years of doing what they do best.  The father focuses on family, the older sister on the home and the younger sister on quieting the soul.

I have said before that the two sisters are like two halves of me, the best of both worlds.  One speaks to the decorator / homemaker in me and the other to the writer / soul encourager.  Add their father to the mix and he speaks to the part of me that wants family to be a top priority.  To be able to go to one place and tap into all my passions is exciting.

It is so exciting that I wanted to share it with you.  I wanted to introduce you to three people who have made an impact on my life in a positive way.  I was privileged to see them in person last November when we went to The Barn Event.  It was everything I imagined it to be.  That is why I am so excited to join them for Hope*ologie.  Every month will be like a Barn Event from the comfort of my own home.

If you don’t think a subscription website is right for you at this time, no worries, they all three have wonderful blogs with lots of good information.  Their blogs will remain free and as always, they will inspire you.

No one affiliated with Hope*ologie, or their personal websites asked me to advertise for them. I just wanted to because I love them that much.

Speaking Hope In Grace,

Teresa

 

(more) Random Favorites III – 31:31

Today is the end of the 31 days of writing.  I am patting myself on the back just a little that I made it for the entire 31 days.  I wasn’t sure what direction to go for my last post in this series.  I thought it should be something profound or gasp worthy. You know, go out with a bang! So you’d come back for more. The truth is, I still have lots of favorites marinating around in the back of my head and I couldn’t quite choose just one.  I thought about a list of my favorite quotes, or talking about my favorite ice cream.  Finally, I decided to just go with another list of random favorites.

1.  Current favorite ice cream – Kroger Private Selection Denali Caramel Caribou Ice Cream.  You can thank me later. After you have experienced it’s smooth creamy decadence.

2. One of my favorite magazines – Country Living.  I first fell in love with CL in my early 20’s when I was in full mode country decor phase.  In many ways I guess I would still be somewhat of a country decor gal, but not so much the layered country look.  Although if you came to my house right now you’d probably tell me it looked layered. In recent years CL has gone with a simple, clean, crisp country look for the most part. And they have kept up with the current trend of going vintage to re-purpose items.

3.  One of my favorite decorating elements is old windows:

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This is leaning in my kitchen window – the lights were up at Christmas.

4.  Using white lights and tulle to decorate for Christmas and silver ornaments:

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5.  My favorite Italian Restaurant – Melini Cucina.  We have eaten there several times and have never been disappointed.  The food is well worth the wait and everything I have tried has been wonderful.  My mouth is watering now just thinking about it.

6.  In closing I will leave you with a few of my favorite quotes:

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for info about Marcus Tullius Cicero click here

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PM.mail.quote7.  And a favorite scripture quote – I discovered this one several years ago and I thought it was good advice:

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Enjoying favorites in grace,

Teresa (Sadie Grace)

“And this mess is so big…”

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“But all things should be done decently and in order.” I Corinthians 14:40

I had a closet.  It was horrid.  It started out with good intentions. But a year of searching for this and that and a few more items stuffed in, and well, I’ll let the pictures tell the story:

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The This closet was originally going to be my pantry. But…Mr. Piano needed storage for the stuff that will someday go to an office.  I wanted custom shelves…but, my brother never seemed to have the time for the shelves and they cost money…. the crates started out in a neat stack with a few things on top.  But… (yes, there is another but) eventually, Mr. Piano needed a piece of music from one of the bottom crates and the rest is history. Long story, short. We lived with it as is. Until we couldn’t. 

This past weekend I decided to organize the closet and use a utility shelf.  I wanted to paint it white, but I wanted the mess organized more, so I just went with the utilitarian gray.  Someday, I still have hopes of this being a custom organized pantry.  In the meantime, it is in much better shape.  I’ll let the photo’s show you:

100_1946 100_1945 100_1934 100_1939 100_1942 100_1941 100_1944This closet is now, officially, the most organized spot in my house.  This is sad.  I walk by and peek in several times a day just to calm the chaos swirling around in my head and my house. It is amazing how quickly the organizing thread can unravel.  It only takes a year give or take a  month or two.

(Yes, we have a curtain for a closet door.  Okay? Thanks.)

I’m pretty sure this closet is a metaphor for something.  Something that may be askew in my life.  Is it possible that while I’m organizing the hidden places in my home (and the not so hidden) that I will also be on a journey to find balance in those hidden places deep in my soul?

Balancing in Grace,

Sadie

“She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.” –Proverbs 31:27

On the Front Porch

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Yesterday I updated you on what I had been doing while not writing.  Today I had a break in the weather so I did some rearranging and staging on my new old front porch.    You can read yesterday’s post to see a lot of the in progress pictures and the before.

I’m linking up over at Imparting Grace so please click on over and check out the other links for more home inspiration. It’s all about “making our homes a place of grace”.  And while you are there browse around Richella’s blog – she will inspire you with her wisdom as well as her decor.

If you found your way here from the link-up party at Imparting Grace, Welcome!  I’m so glad you stopped by.  Please leave a comment and let me know you were here.  I love to meet new people.  That is one of the ways I find blogs that become my favorites.

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Just a quick (ish) update for those who haven’t been keeping up with our porch reno – We live in an older home that was our weekend home, but due to some changes last year, has become our full-time home (and here) while we wait on God’s direction for what comes next.  We lovingly refer to it as the Little House (aka StoneLeaf Cottage).

This blog was originally started to chronicle the Little House, but I haven’t’ done much of that as I have found other things to write about.  I think over the summer I am going to add more posts about the house. Stay tuned.

Our most recent project has been our front porch.  The porch ceiling was vinyl.  I don’t really care for vinyl porch ceilings, especially on old houses.  And, I desperately wanted a blue porch ceiling.  A southern porch at it’s best.  You can’t paint vinyl – yuk! And our vinyl had seen better days; it was sagging, which meant probably a leak was lurking. The floor boards were in good shape but had grayed over the years; the shutters were pitiful and the porch just was not overly inviting. I wrote a poem about it here. I’d had a swing for the better part of two years and had not hung it because one of the hooks was missing and the sag was where the hook should have been.  So, not knowing what I’d find or whether or not I’d have to replace all the old boards, we decided to do what any sane person would do.  We took the vinyl by the claw hammer and let her rip.  No going back.

That was the best decision ever.  Yes, we had to replace the old boards.  Yes, we replaced them with tongue and groove pine boards and yes, we painted them blue.  Summer Sky blue from Lowe’s.  Valspar I think.  Does Lowe’s sell any other brand of paint ;).  And yes, I have pictures to show you in a minute or two.  To make a long story as short as possible, we also freshened up the porch wall paint ( an Olympic color called Puppy Paws – not my choice, but we’re not painting the whole house, so we went with what was already established.)  And we painted the floor and today I did some “staging” and took pictures.  Lots of pictures.  I’ll try to refrain from sharing all 57 of them.  (all pictures were taken by me.  Please link back should you share any of them.)

Enjoy how our transformed front porch has helped “make our home a place of Grace”:

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100_1876I hope you enjoyed the pictures of our new old front porch.  You probably noticed how the accessories jumped around a bit. I had  fun trying out different combos.  The porch floor paint is a Glidden color, Handcast Pewter, in Valspar porch and paint from Lowe’s.  The cushions and furniture are from Oxford Garden.  You can go online to check out the where to buy link.  The rug is a lucky find at Wal-Mart.  The only one of this style left in their outdoor rug bin.  The colors could not have been more perfect for all the different blues and greens in my cushions.  It even has a beigy neutral color that picks up on the pinkish tan tones of the house color.  And, of course it compliments my summer sky ceiling paint perfectly. For now I’m ignoring the black retro railing because I can’t afford to change it to a wooden white railing and columns.  We will probably need to freshen the paint on it soon.

All the pops of color excite me and make me happy.  My swing makes me happy!

My front porch makes me happy!

click the quote for a song:

All I wanna do when the day is through, is linger here on the front porch with you

Swinging on the front porch in Grace,

Sadie

PS – The house you see behind the swing is the home we moved to when I was a teenager; my parents still live there. We’re so blessed to have them close by.

PPS – I still have a few things I want to add, like string lights and some kind of art on the wall, and maybe a hanging plant or two.  But I’m so excited for the progress.  I’ll keep you posted on any updates.

Home

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This little house sits next door to the house that has been our family home since the summer I was 16.  My parents still live there.  Over the years there were many neighbors in the little house.  For a few years a wonderful couple lived there after they retired from the military. When they passed away, the house went on the market and eventually a young teacher ended up with the house.  She painted it Puppy Paws, which I believe is an Olympic paint from Lowe’s.  It has a rather pinkish cast.  Anyway, she lived here for a year or so and then got married and they lived here another year, then they accepted teaching jobs elsewhere and put the house on the market.  We almost bought it then, in 2007.  But we didn’t.

Three years and three renters later, my Dad was tired of not knowing who his neighbors would be, he was tired of his steep driveway and wanted back access to his property and I was hankering for a little house to call my own even if it was only on weekends.  So, we made a deal.  He’d buy the property, We (meaning my brother, his assistant and my dad) would fix up the house and then when Mr. Piano graduates we’d purchase the house from him.  In the meantime we’d have a little weekend get away and a little cottage to come home to on school breaks etc.  I’d always thought it would be fun to have a second home like those people you read about who can actually afford a vacation home.

The only hitch in having my second home?  I didn’t really have my first home since I was living in a campus apartment and had sold my dream home in Tennessee when we moved to Louisville for my husband to attend school.  See picture below:

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I’ve always done things backwards and there is a rather satisfying sense of irony in having my second home before I have my first home.  So to speak.  And just so we are clear, I do not have the means to own two homes in any real sense of the phrase ‘two homes’.  It’s not all that.  We got a really good deal on the little house because….brace yourself….this is a sampling of the condition it was in when we found it:

100_0554The kitchen looks totally different now, thanks to my brother.  We were fortunate that the fall of 2010 his business slowed down enough for him to spend the fall and winter doing updates and he was reasonably priced.  And he is talented.  And we did the bare minimum to make it work as a little get away house.  Nothing fancy, just clean and simple.  I will do some before and after posts soon.

To be fair to previous owners, the young teacher had the house very clean and did some painting and updates, but unfortunately the renters after she moved out weren’t so kind to the house.  We gathered several, like at least 13, large, yard, garbage bags full of junk that the last renter had left behind.  It looked like she had left in a hurry as there was something in a pan on the stove that looked like chili and my Dad found out the hard way that we shouldn’t open the refrigerator door.  It had to be thrown away which is a shame as it looked fairly new.  We let our appliance guy recycle the stove when we purchased a new one as I wasn’t too thrilled with keeping it either after seeing the “leftovers” in the pan (we’re talking several weeks).  I have a picture of the garbage we threw out, when I find it I’ll scan it and let you see that I’m not making this up!

So, here we are two and a half years later and our “second” home has become our only home.  For awhile at least.  Mr. Piano, is getting ready to defend his dissertation on January 15th.  After that he will do some final editing and then it will be off to be bound and printed, then we wait for graduation in May.  He was supposed to graduate in December, but, well, that is a long story, and a stressful one, and really couldn’t be helped. He is essentially done and after next week, he will be done, but since graduation only happens twice a year, it won’t be official until May.  Then, God willing, he will have a teaching job in the fall.  He has been applying like crazy to colleges.  Frankly, we don’t know where we’ll end up, or when we’ll be there.

In the meantime we remain here in the Little House, in a small Kentucky ‘burg, living in our second home, waiting on a job that will presumably take us to our first home, unless, something would pop up close by and then our second home could be our first home.  We are open to God’s plans.  We wait on him because we know he is faithful.  We are learning to rest, trust, and listen.  In Him we Remain, because he is our true home.

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Remaining in Grace,

Sadie