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Days 4-30 of November Thankfulness: All at Once I Realized….

Okay, I realized that if I don’t do the rest at one time then I probably won’t finish it so I’m just jumping ahead…. Here are the rest of the 30 things I’m thankful for in no particular order….

Just a part of my job

4. My job– On any given weekend I come home with great stories from the kids that I work with… whether it is a funny story (like the kid who asked if he could say bad words and when I said no, he said to his friend, “@#$%, we can’t say bad words.” or the sweet little girl who insists we call her “Dog”) or a sweet one (the kid who requires a hug from the other party of the dispute after the apology), I always have something great to share.  Plus, because of what I do… I pretty much much get to be a kid…  I love it.

5. My co-workers– I realize that not too many people can say that they love everyone that they work with … and if they say they love them, they may not like them so much…. But I love and like my co-workers.  They are a great group of people who put up with me and love and like me back… at least, I’m pretty sure they do… I also know, not too many have co-workers that feel like family…. I do and am thankful.. (If you see my boss make sure you tell him I said these nice things)

6. My husband– Another one who puts up with me… So few get to see the funny side of him but the man cracks me up… plus he is a great dad and husband. ( You can also tell him I said these nice things. )

7. My freedom– I will be voting tomorrow and realize that for whatever reason, I have been fortunate enough to be born and live in a country that is free.

8. My kids– My girls are such a perfect addition to my life.  They are all funny, compassionate, sweet (most of the time… well, okay… sweet to others), they love each other now and someday may become friends with each other (actually, I see it happening already) They aren’t perfect by any means but then again, they have an imperfect mom so what do I expect.

9. Our alphabet– abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz…. there may be a lot of them but thankful there are no ~ or ` or other symbols over the tops of them….plus, I like to write and am glad I don’t have to write in pictures..

10. Flip-Flops– I love the idea of slipping on a pair of flip-flops and letting my feet feel the sun… yeah, leather, canvas and other shoes are great too, but flip-flops are the next best thing to bare feet...

11. Hummingbirds– Our summer is made better by these little guys… They zoom past our heads, flutter around our back porch and though we may sound easy to entertain, they are more fun to watch than most shows on TV.

12. Friends– some to laugh with, some to cry with, some to do both with, some male, some female, some who brighten my day unexpectedly, some who mentor me, some who we learn together…. some who have passed in and out of my life……….all have a special place in my heart

13. My health–  thankful that I can walk, talk, and do most anything I want to do because I have good health

14. Ale8– The Central Kentucky soft drink that has made it’s way to a few other places in the country…. I’m pretty sure it is an acquired taste, but for those of us who love it … we really love it.  And I’m thankful that they now have Diet and caffeine free, too.

15. Baby Animals– They are just so cute…  puppies, kittens, baby rabbits, baby bears, etc… well, except baby narwhals

16. Creativity-I’m a person who loves to create…. whether it be a story, a painting or a sculpted caricature of someone….It is what I love to do… I’m thankful for a creative Creator and amazed at what He createdLightening outside our house

17. Nature– Waterfalls, the change of seasons, stars, storms, lightening, weird animals (narwhals, angler fish, tarsiers,etc)… whatever it may be it all goes back to the creativity….

18. Technology – I’m thankful to live in a day and age where people thousands and thousands of miles away can communicate as if they were next door neighbors.  I also love that we can get to them by plane, train or car rather than only a horse or on foot.

19. Chocolate – ‘Nuff said…

20. Modern Medicine –  I can imagine that without what we have today, I probably would have been one on the side of the road in need of healing when Christ walked by…. AND – can you imagine surgery without antibacterial items??   that’s what I’m talking about

21. The Bible – I used to never understand it nor care much about the stories from it, but once I began to dig into it with the help of Christ, it changed my world….

22. Music – It can perk up your day, help you worship God, mellow out a crying baby, make memories, sooth a tortured soul, help motivate, help memorize… It is a pretty powerful thing.

23. Grace– I know I’ve already written about it but I’m just doubly thankful that I don’t get what I deserve…. because I can never do enough to get the good portion of deserving all by myself….

24. Fruit-something good for you and tastes good too…. bananas, apples (fuji are my favorite), grapes, kiwi, raisins, watermelon, actually all melons, strawberries, cherries, clementines ….. add a little chocolate to some and then it’s even better…. shall I go on?

25. Humor -sense of humor- glad I have one, even if I am the only one who thinks I’m funny… and laughter,  not at the expense of others but wholesome laughter could possibly bring the world together

26. Bug sprayCitronella, flea and tick repellent, after bite….. whichever it is, it was a genius invention

27. Gloves– They keep my hands warm. (particularly on days when my office is Freezing) I can even text in them now and best of all,  I don’t have to touch things that are yucky if I don’t want….

28. My family-my parents, by example taught me how to work through arguments, dance, laugh, love each other, give to others and love God and church….I have no siblings but do have cousins, aunts and uncles… brothers and sisters-in-law, father and mother-in-law (deceased- but wonderfully remembered), a wonderful step mother-in-law…. so many great memories

29. My home– Yes, there are times when I wish I had a bigger yard or one more bedroom or a live in maid, but I am blessed to have what I have and know it

30. A Loving God– anyone who makes a way for you to get to them must love you a lot…. thankful that the Creator of all did that for me…. and for you…. so when I am thankful, that is who gets my thanks… without the Creator and his grace, all of the other things are pointless.

If only November had more days…….. Maybe I should just be thankful all of the time….

Ephesians 5:20

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Day 3 of November Thankfulness: Grace….In A Textfully Speaking Kind of Way

Several years ago right around Christmas time,  I had a very interesting cell phone bill.  Texting had just caught on in our household and we had allowed our daughter the privilege of going from a pay as you go phone to being on a fixed monthly plan along with the adults in the house.   Believe it or not, I’m a texter more than a talker now, but this incident was during the early stages of texting in our household.   My daughter was becoming quite fast with her texting and her communication with friends now became conversations with no purpose….

Messages such as this:

Daughter:  Wut r u doing

Friend: texting

Daughter:  Oh Haha

Daughter: me too

Friend: Have you seen that movie that they were talking about at lunch?

Daughter:  No, but want to this weekend?

Friend: Yes!

Daughter: Me too!

Friend: K

Daughter: K

Daughter: 🙂

Daughter: See ya tomorrow and we’ll make plans

Friend:  ttyl

At that time we had a limited texting plan and overage was a quarter a text.   Now, she thought that a whole conversation such as that would cost a quarter, when in reality it cost $3.25. So now multiply that by some 2500 texts over our limit and you have a phone bill that is not only unbelievably outrageous, but also as thick as a book!  And that was what we had.. our bill…$600+ with another one on the way for over $300 AND it was nearing Christmas… Needless to say, our phone carrier received a nicer gift than our family did that year.

Anyway, several asked me if we punished our daughter only to be shocked that we didn’t.  We disciplined but not punished….  We paid the phone bill and she had to work to earn the money for her upcoming mission trip of the same cost.  She earned her money,  learned her lesson, became aware of how money really works and grew in wisdom throughout it all.  This is the part of the story when we get the most blank stares and then we get the “what I would have done” scenarios which almost always include taking the phone away.

Maybe we should have taken the phone away but instead chose not to “punish” because it wasn’t a defiant act, it was accidental.  I guess to some degree, we showed her grace.

I was talking with a friend the other day and the topic of grace came up in our conversation… God’s grace is an amazing thing.  My friend reminded me that the Greek meaning of grace is a translation of “a superior stooping, bending or reaching down in kindness to an inferior.”  In a word picture of that, you can imagine that God bends down, looks you in the eye and hugs and holds you just like a child…grace.  Wow, God’s grace is a choice and it is more than just grace in certain circumstances… but rather, grace in all things.

I’ve messed up so many times, even when I knew better…. even when I knew completely what I was doing was against what God would desire from me…. Even if He had reminded me over and over again of what I should NOT do… His grace doesn’t give me what I deserve.  Whew!  What a gift.

When my husband and I chose grace for our daughter, we not only did it because we love her and we knew she didn’t do it intentionally, but we also did it because we have experienced grace ourselves…. we passed it on in hopes she would and will too.

Today, I am thankful for grace-  the Grace of God and the grace that I see exemplified by others.

John 1:15-17 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Day 2 of November Thankfulness- Laughter; the Best Medicine

Laughter has always been a big part of my life…Always in my home… from a child until today.  I think it is genetic.  Today, I  am thankful for humor and laughter….. It can make a bad day better, an illness bearable, a stressful day relieved, a worry forgotten…. it is just good medicine.

Here is a portion of conversations that my family and I have had over the past year and I have written them down…. enjoy!

Conversation with my 9-year-old after she returned from a Parent’s Night Out at church-which was to help our Student ministry area earn money for a summer trip and of course, my co-worker, our Student Ministries Pastor, Matt.
Me: Have a good time?

Leah: Yeah, it was fun. Matt played “Rip My Throat”. That was cool.

Me: “Rip My Throat”?!? That’s a horrible name for a game! Especially for kids! Wonder why Matt didn’t give it another name?! That’s horrible. “Rip My Throat?!”

Leah: (Shaking her head and laughing) Mom, I said, “Matt gave us ROOT BEER FLOATS!”

Me: Oh…..

Image

Conversation with my daughter at the grocery store….

Allison: Mom, we need more onions and peppers.
Me: We shouldn’t. I just bought some.
Allison: I know but they are funky looking now.

So I picture rotten produce and begin to grumble about lack of quality produce at a certain grocery, etc while I load my cart with more onions and green bell peppers.

When we get home I look on the counter only to see perfectly good onions and peppers.

Me:(to Allison) Now what did you say was wrong with the onions and peppers again?
Allison: That they weren’t good.
Me: How? In what way?
Allison: I don’t know, they are funky looking. The onions have purple on them and something growing out of them and the peppers are turning red.
Me: Allison, these are red bell peppers and the onions you are referring to are turnips!
Allison: Oh…..

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Conversation while homeschooling my 17-year-old..yes, you read that correctly… Homeschooling…

Me: Okay, go back and correct these and then do this one writing assignment.

Allison: No!

Me: What?!?!

Allison: Sorry, it’s just that I’ve always wanted to talk back to my teacher.

We laugh…

Image
Conversation while watching The X-Factor…

Allison: (interrupting me as I’m singing a song between contestants) Mom… Stop! You don’t have the X-Factor!

Me: I don’t?

Allison: No, You have the Y-Factor…. It’s like “Why?!? Do you keep singing?”

Conversation in the car with my 10-year-old…

Leah: Mom, do you realize that I haven’t missed one day of school yet.

Me: Yep!

Leah: I think I’m the only one in my class who hasn’t missed.

Me: Wow!

Leah: I’m pretty sure that most of them have missed at least three days but not me.

Me: That is great, Leah!

Leah: No…. That’s a hint, Mom.

Conversation in the car:
My 17-year-old had “taken” my cell phone because she thought I wasn’t paying attention. ( I wasn’t driving at the time) I demanded it back…
Me: Give me my phone now!
Allison: Why?
Me: Because I’m the mom and YOU’RE the daughter..
Leah:(10-year-old in back seat) Great Mom, way to put labels on us…
BTW-I got my phone backImage

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Fun, Life Stories

 

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Day 1 of November Thankfulness-Don’t Box Me In

There used to be a skit on Saturday Night Live about a couple named Doug and Wendy Whiner.  The skit was based around this couple who spoke in a whiny voice all of the time.  I can remember traveling in Panama as a teenager and while doing a little sightseeing, my friend and I began saying things in our Doug and Wendy Whiner voices.  Looking back, we cracked ourselves up but were probably annoying everyone else.

So, now it is time for me to divulge a truth……I’m often like Doug and Wendy.  I whine. I suppose the reality of it is that I’m a pretty thankful person.  I realize that I have been blessed with a great husband, great kids (even if they do roll their eyes at me at times) and a great family.  I love my job and my co-workers. I have some precious friends. My kids never have to go without needs. (I am stressing needs… wants are a totally different thing.) I’m thankful to God  for all of these things and so much more.  BUT…. I’m also still a whiner.  Not so much of one out loud and to people (okay, maybe a few get to hear me) but in the quietness of my life, wherever that may be, I whine to God about what I don’t have or what I don’t want.

Last spring, I took a day long personal retreat.  It wasn’t much of anything other than a hike all by myself to a rock that overlooks a river.  I took my walking stick, a backpack, some music on my phone and my Bible.  The intention of the retreat was to spend my time with God….. whining.  I had been dealing with a perpetual thorn in my side… as much as I have done and as hard as I have tried, I couldn’t (still can’t) get that thing out of my side.  So, my retreat time was going to be me and God…. I totally had planned on him showing up at that rock with me.  I sat down, prayed some, opened my Bible, read some….. nothing.  No God.  I did those things again.  Still, no God.  For whatever reason, though I know I am always in his presence, he chose to be quiet.  And my reaction… I was disappointed…. I wanted to complain about this thorn in my side… I wanted answers….. It was a great day for it to be removed! Still nothing but silence.

I basked on the rock for several hours, reading, waiting….. I was at the point of putting God in a box and of believing that He was also annoyed with my whining, so I finally gave up and decided to leave.  Now being a girl that grew up on a farm, with a tad of hippie inside and lack of desire to be like others, I decided a hike without shoes would be great….  I put my shoes in my backpack and began hiking through mud, rocks and grass… It was wonderful.  The smells of fresh mud and grass, the feel of walking on gravel and squishing through mud, the sounds of a running creek and singing birds… I was instantly taken back to my childhood.

I made it through the rough terrain and back to a concrete sidewalk and was watching a group of kids in the distance when I looked down and caught myself in mid-step.  I almost stepped on the biggest thorn I’d ever seen in my life.  It was huge… at least to me it was.  It was probably three inches long and the thorns on the side were sticking a good two inches outward.  It looked much like a cross.  I thought in my mind that thorn would be great to show the kids at church because it was probably the size of the thorns placed on Jesus’ head.  I looked around to find more but there were none.  The only ones I saw were about 40 feet in the air, wrapped around a large tree.  So, I picked it up and decided since God wasn’t meeting me that I would listen to some music.
I put in my ear buds and without looking, clicked on my music.  A song began to play and as I sat down in my car, I heard the words in a whole new way….

The song was, Don’t Give Up by Shawn McDonald…. These are the words that I heard….

Sometimes it is hard to go on
It’s hard to see the reasons
For breathing, living, letting love guide the way
But you must hold on

 
Don’t give up
Don’t give up
Hold on for one more day

 

Sometimes we fall down
We get ourselves in trouble
But it’s OK
Cause we still have another chance to get it right
To get it right

 

I’ve come too far
I’ve seen so much
I’ve heard the call and felt the touch
I’ve tasted love that I cannot deny

 
Don’t give up
Don’t give up
Hold on for one more day

 
I remembered the words that had been spoken to me just days before, ” Maybe the thorn in your side is to keep you relying on God.  If you didn’t have it would you depend on God as much as you have to with it? Maybe not” … I looked at the thorn… it was a souvenir…God waited until I was like a child and spoke to me in a way that was creative and miraculous….. I wept…

I’ve kept that thorn. It sits on my desk as a reminder of that day.   I still don’t like the thorn in my side and it still bothers me a lot, but at least I have an understanding and that understanding came in such a loving and beautiful way.

 

 

Day 1: I’m thankful for a God that cannot be put in a box, desires a personal relationship with me (and you) and speaks in beautiful ways.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NLT)

even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young-

Grow strong in the Light of My Presence. Your weakness does not repel Me. On the contrary, it attracts My Power, which is always available to flow into a yielded heart. Do not condemn yourself for your constant need of help. Instead, come to Me with your gaping neediness; let the Light of My Love fill you.

A yielded heart does not whine or rebel when the going gets rough. It musters the courage to thank Me even during hard times. Yielding yourself to My will is ultimately an act of trust. In quietness and trust is your strength.

 

Don’t Give Up- Shawn McDonald

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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I’ve Created a Monster… actually, just some Bobbleheads….

Sometimes I get really frustrated because I fight the gifts that God gave me… what I mean is, often times the grass is greener on the other side.  Still yet what I mean is, yes, I know I have certain abilities but sometimes I think I’d rather be okay at something a bit more important… like being organized rather than being able to paint.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the gifts that God has given me… just being honest here… and when I really think about it, I am thankful for creativity but wishful at the same time…. therefore enters the frustration.   However, last night while watching American Idol and seeing the many gifted and  not so gifted people, I was reminded about the vast differences in people and how creative God is.  We are a part of a fantastic potpourri of an incredible Creator.  So, since the gentleman (General Larry Platt)  unveiled to the world his masterpiece, “Pants on the Ground”, on American Idol last night, I felt it might be a good time for me to share my creations.

Where I work, within the staff, I have been known to add a little laughter to our yearly Christmas parties.  First it was the year of “photoshopped” heads on bodies magnets.  Then it was the never forgotten clever little scheme to get loads of gifts for Christmas and  I placed my name, “Nancy”, on every slip of paper in the hat to be drawn for gift giving… and everyone on staff got my name for Christmas…though it sounds like a great plan, it backfired a tiny bit…   definitely a story for another blog sometime… Then there was the year of shirts (actually onsies for a soon to be dad on staff) that had my photo covering it and said, “I love Pastor Nancy”.  Yes, those were all good years, but this past year just may have topped them all.

In the fall my daughter reintroduced me to a medium that I hadn’t played with in quite some time, polymer clay.  After playing around with it for a few weeks I thought it might be fun to make bobbleheads for my co-workers… bobbleheads of their caricatured likenesses, that is….  so I went to work.  Though I ran out of time and couldn’t complete an actual bobblehead… they did get figurines…. caricatured figurines of themselves…. we had a great laugh this year.

Maybe this will encourage you to embrace your creativity…. it is a gift from the original Creator.

Philippians 1:3-6

3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Thanks for the reminder, Grant)

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2010 in Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Hugging God…….Thirty things I’m thankful for

I once read that blessings are a hug from God and counting your blessings is giving God a hug back. I had a challenge earlier this month to daily write one thing that I am thankful for until Thanksgiving day arrived.   I have been faithful to that challenge but once I started writing them I began thinking of so many things, so I decided to add to my daily list by listing thirty random things.  Here we go:

 

  1. baby squirrels- Apparently these little guys are quite the popular internet search…and because I posted one little photo of a cute little baby squirrel in February, my blog gets a great number of hits daily just to look at my little squirrel. It is a great confidence booster when I look at my visitor numbers… I’m thankful that they help keep my blog alive.  I will definitely be embarrassed if I find out that “Baby Squirrel” is some rapper’s name or something like that
  2. creativity- I’m a person who loves to create…. whether it be a story or a sculpted caricature of someone….It is what I love to do… I’m thankful for a creative Creator and amazed at what He created
  3. gloves- don’t have to touch things that are yucky if I don’t want….
  4. crocs- the heavenly shoe of the wide-footed human like me… cavemen would have loved them…
  5. my parents-  by example they taught me how to work through arguments, dance, laugh, love each other and love God and church….
  6. my husband- he makes me laugh, is a great dad, incredibly dependable and is just an all around great husband…
  7. my children- such a great gift to be called “Mom”… they bring an unexpected joy… even when they are old enough to roll their eyes at you.
  8. bug spray- genius invention…. Take that, Mr. Mosquito!
  9. grace- thankful that I don’t get what I deserve…. because I can never do enough to get the good portion of deserving  all by myself….
  10. the alphabet- abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz…. may be a lot of them but thankful there are no ~ or ` or other symbols over the tops of them….
  11. medicine- had I been living 2000 years ago, I can imagine that without medicine I probably would have been one on the side of the road in need of healing when Christ walked by
  12. health- thankful that, though I should focus more on taking care of myself (I see a New Year’s resolution here) I can walk, talk, and do most anything I want to do because I have good health
  13. my home- I’ll confess…. there are times when I wish I had a bigger yard or one more bedroom or a live in maid, but I am blessed to have what I have and know it
  14. my co-workers– not too many have co-workers that feel like family…. I do and am thankful
  15. my family- I’ve already mentioned my parents so I’m looking at the other ones that I call family….no siblings but cousins, aunts and uncles… brothers and sisters-in- law, father and mother-in-law(deceased- but wonderfully remembered), a wonderful step mother-in-law…. so many great memories and wonderful little bundles of precious baby cousins
  16. my friends- some to laugh with, some to weep with, some both,  some who have passed in and out of my life, all have a special place in my heart
  17. waterfalls- not sure why they are so beautiful but it regardless of their size…. they are wonderful to enjoy
  18. cute animals-baby squirrels aren’t the only little things that are so cute… puppies, kittens, baby rabbits, baby bears, etc… well, except baby narwhals
  19. laughter- not at the expense of others but wholesome laughter might just bring the world together
  20. sense of humor- glad I have one, even if I am the only one who thinks I’m funny
  21. those who have sacrificed- sometimes I wonder why I live where I live…. how did I get to be so blessed?  Then I think about it …. not just happenstance that we live the way we do… some fought against much so we can have much freedom
  22. antibacterial items- can you imagine surgery without it??   that’s what I’m talking about
  23. the beauty of seasons- all goes back to creativity… I love red/orange leaves and the bright gray sky just before a good snow..and a loaded tree of cherry blossoms…. and the heat of sun on the concrete in the summer
  24. clay- maybe you have to be me to be thankful for it but it provides me with hours of entertainment
  25. computers- can’t imagine having to type this blog on a typewriter or by hand…. also am thankful that they have gotten smaller and smarter
  26. spices-cinnamon, garlic, salt, pepper…… just to name a few ……without them it would just be sugar toast for breakfast, bread with spaghetti….you get the picture
  27. chocolate-enough said
  28. peanuts- peanuts make peanut butter…. protein and yummy
  29. fruit-something good for you and tastes good too…. bananas, fuji apples, grapes, kiwi, raisins, watermelon, actually all melons, strawberries, cherries(my personal favorite)….. shall I go on?
  30. A Loving God- anyone who makes a way for you to get to them must love you a lot…. thankful that the Creator of all did that for me…. and for you…. so when I am thankful, that is who gets my thanks… without the Creator and his grace, all of the other things are pointless.

The challenge is on…. can you list thirty???

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2009 in Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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