Thursday, September 6, 2012

Seasons of Change part II



Seasons of Change

Hello

Psalm 139:16
You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book.

I started talking about change and the season's of our lives, ever changing whether we are aware of it or not. My last 20 years can be measured by the shops I opened and closed among other things of course. But in my last post I had been talking about my work or what I have put my hand to and the changes that have taken place.



I talked about Simply Posh and the success it enjoyed and how I learned to pull my big girl panties up and step out in faith. I believe that God has his hand in all that we do, if we put our trust in him but as we go through life that trust level changes. What I once considered a giant leap of faith yesterday is not such a big deal today... because I have learned by taking that first step of trust or faith that God is faithful and trustworthy, so that I go from faith to faith from one season to another. 

After I closed Simply Posh I kept busy with many things. I did things that were put on hold because there are only so many minutes in the day.
 I traveled, something I love to do. I always get excited over a good road trip!

Giverney





Paris




Hawaii


Also... My girls were having babies, so I enjoyed being able to be there for the births of Savannah and Sophie just 3 months apart. This of course includes designing the nurseries... sewing and painting.








It would have been fine if I could have stayed on the road but Mr. Re-Purposed would have had a few things to say about that, I am sure. 
 I found myself missing the shop life or at least having that something in front of me when I got out of bed in the morning.
 An opportunity presented itself... right on time for God's next season of my life!
Vintage Living




I had fun with this shop! 
It was meant to be a destination shop, that is I did not have to cater to all the things I did not want to deal with. It was just the right size 1600 sq ft and a beautiful studio space in the back of the store. It opened up onto a patio under apple trees next to a quaint pub that served wonderful food and good wine. The studio space allowed me to give workshops, which I found to be so inspiring for me. Such lovely women I was privileged to know.

Studio









This shop featured handmade items and put the emphasis on creativity instead of home decor. Which took the competitive edge off and allowed me to carry only the things I really wanted and enjoyed. It gave me room to try different things and stretch my creativity and it gave me the time I needed to do it.












Everything in my life seemed to be going fairly well... we had glitches along the way (and I mean mountain size glitches) but nothing major in the past few years and life was good.
Let me just stop here for a second and I will tell you where I was spiritually. 
I am going to get real personal here, so those of you who are here for the pictures might want to move on at this point.



I have said before that I was raised in a spiritual home, by that I mean I was brought up as Jesus Christ being the Lord and savior of my life. I have known Jesus all my life but I have not always walked with him, there were times in my life when I walked away. In the past I had struggled with this, how could I have had a relationship with my God all my life and then just rebel and do the things I knew were wrong for me? Does that take away from the time I was walking with him, does that mean what I said and did wasn't done in truth? Didn't I know better? Sometimes we know things in our heads but it takes experiencing it to get it into our hearts. Once it is in our hearts it is then who we become.
Paul says in Romans 7 that, For the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Even Paul had trouble doing what he knew to be right, we all struggle against sin warring against us. It is that very struggle that God uses to show us who we are in him and it is our growing pains. As I said we all have seasons, that season of my life, I liken to my spiritual teenage rebellious years. This is the path I had to take to bring me to where I am today. 

 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.  Isaiah 45:7(KJV)
Instead of thinking good and bad consider there are positive and negative forces working. If only good happened in your life, how would you know it was good without the bad? How would you appreciate sweet without sour, how would you know light without darkness, warmth without cold, fairness without injustice, mercy without deserved punishment... love without hate.
Every one of us is on a journey... this journey is our life, our season here on earth and to that purpose is to know God. To know and understand his love... pure and simple, it is why we are here.
Getting back to my journey...


Looking back I can see how things fell into place for a reason, it was God's pure mercy on my life that brought me to where I am. As I said I always had a certain amount of trust in him and gave my life's decisions to him. But I like to move it move it move it, as they say, God made me that way. It is in our strengths that we find our greatest weakness. It is when I am in my element that I tend not to give it over to him... cause I can do it.
There is no doubt in my mind God had ordained my opening Vintage Living... 
it was going to be a turning point in my life.



"I am the vine, you are the branches, he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:5  This verse was what the Lord spoke to me through concerning the shop. 

That turning point started about a year after I opened, the shop was doing just what I had expected and more. I was carving out my niche in life. I was finding my creativity again, when I closed Simply Posh I hadn't been in my studio for almost 2 years. I was exploring new friendships and the blogging world opened up new avenues and friendships. The women's creative movement was in full swing and I was in the thick of things... life was good.

Ok, you got the picture... now wait for it, do you hear it,
do you hear it?







Do you hear the sound of the other shoe dropping?
Or in my case and the rest of the world's case,
the sound of the economy dropping!






I couldn't have chosen a worse store to open then this one, in the economy that was to come. From the location to the French antiques to the high end bedding, clothing and decor I invested in. As I said I had made this store everything I liked, creme de la creme. 
The first year of the collapse I kept on top, my customers were still optimistic and although sales fell off I still was good. Towards the end of the year I lost my father. He had always been my spiritual rock. The day before he died he looked at me and said, " nothing matters but loving the Father."

 By the next year things got bleak. 
My hope was to hold on and maybe the economy would turn around. I also had a Where Women Create photo shoot and the publicity couldn't hurt. I really had nothing else to hold on to, except the Lord and he quit talking.





I am the first to say I am an artist and not a business person. I actually was a bookkeeper years ago but it is not my strong suit. The shop was dead, I knew that but I kept trying to raise it up just like Lazarus. I had a year to go on my lease and I was holding on.
Trying many different avenues to drum up business and sitting back in my studio praying... praying... praying.
Only to have those prayers bounce off the ceiling and back into my lap.
The stress of it all was having its toll on me as we got deeper and deeper in debt... I began to have bouts of vertigo, often. If you have ever had vertigo you know it will bring you to your knees fast. 
I could not afford to close the shop so I laid on the floor in my studio and only got up long enough to wait on the few customers that came through the door. I was miserable. Those days were like wandering in the wilderness. 
God had turned his back and I was not going to let go. I was simply abiding or clinging to the vine, it is all I knew to do.
It was during this time, some days down on my face before the Lord that God took pity on his servant. He somehow did a healing within me. I was able to get to the point where I could give it all up, nothing mattered but Him. I got to the point where my will did not matter and like Job, I could say "Though He slay me, yet will I serve Him."
Eccl. 7:13 Consider the work of God, for who is able to straighten what He has bent? In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider--God has made the one as well as the other.






God however, is not in the slaying business. He loves His children and like the perfect father knows what is best for them. He chastises those He loves, He brings the heat to purify. When silver or gold is refined it is put under intense heat and the impurities go to the top and then are skimmed off. This process is done until the gold or silver is pure and the silversmith is able to see his reflection, so it is with God.


God finally broke his silence with Isaiah 54:6-17
For the Lord hath called thee like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord, thy Redeemer. For this is like the waters of Noah unto me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with thee nor rebuke thee.
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, who hath mercy on thee. 
O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest and not comforted, behold I will lay they stones with fair colors, and lay they foundations with sapphires. And I will make they windows of agates and they gates of carbuncles and all they borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of they children. In righteousness shalt thou be established; thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear; and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not my me; whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from me, saith the Lord.


This scripture God spoke to my heart as though lightening came down and struck me. He overwhelmed me with His presence and love. This came as all else was collapsing around me. 
My husband and I had been to several lawyers and it didn't look good.
All that I worked for in the past, my name and reputation, all that I had accumulated, all that I had collected, my studio everything might be put up on the auction block and sold for pennies on the dollar. My livelihood was there and I was told I couldn't take anything home. I felt as though I would be exposed and they would come and pick the flesh off my bones. To add to my stress the article had come out in WWC and there would be no shop to visit. Not only embarrassing but disappointing to the readers.  How ironic that in the middle of all this, I get a beautiful 12 page spread in a national magazine. Success... how I defined myself for years now would be a laugh. 








All this ran pale in the light of God's silence. All this really didn't matter because God gave me a promise that He would work it out. All this was not my defining moment... I was not going to go down with this, God was speaking and I was listening. 
What I wanted really deep down in my inner being was only to be pleasing to God and if that meant public humiliation then so be it. For the first time in my life I didn't care what I wanted, I only wanted God's heart. I wanted the will of the Father for me, not my will but my heavenly Fathers will.
To say things fell in place would be an understatement. God did work things out for our better. We did not have to put the shop up for auction and we closed Vintage Living at the end of our lease. 
This season of my life ended and not in humiliation but with a new promise and new expectations of what God had next.




God opened up new doors for me through the magazine article and because of the shop. We are still trying to dig out from underneath the burden of the past but that only builds our faith to faith trusting and proving God in our lives.



Seasons come and go but what remains is what God builds in us.
I am not the same person I was 5 years ago and I will be a different person 5 years from now. Hopefully a stronger woman of God that finds my Father pleased.


Blessings to all of you 
and thank you for sticking with me... 
this was a long post!
Rebecca

34 comments:

  1. I read every single word, Rebecca, and teared up as I read the story that has been yours to live. I wish I could sit down and talk to you because I have a similar faith story...a longing of the heart that was not to be...but was fulfilled in a different way. You have no idea how much your sharing this here means to me tonight- God bless you- xo Diana

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  2. Rebecca, I could not stop reading and I read it all. Your shops full of beauty, the poor economy, God not speaking (I believe it is us not hearing!), and your change of attitude to turning everything over to Him. Now you are rebuilding. Bless your heart for being courageous, not giving up, even with the vertigo, and telling us a part of your story. You are faithful and God loves you. May this day and week be filled with blessings for you.

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  3. I do not know how you do it. I find it difficult to feel positive. My life is unraveling and I am, too. You are so strong.

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  4. I'm sure it was no accident that I wandered here tonight, reading each of your words, feeling the loss of my Lord in my life, holding on for just long enough to be saved. A beautiful story and a beautiful ending. Blessings to you as you travel onward.

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  5. Thanks for sharing and baring your soul.....never easy. All we can do is trust in Him and carry on, as you have.
    Your strength is inspiring, and for that I thank you.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your struggles with us Rebecca. Life is a difficult journey and though He loves us so and we are precious to Him- He doesn't make it easy for us. I always look to Jesus and His life here on earth. If ever there was a life full of trouble and trial Jesus had it - yet His focus was always on His Father- Oh to get that truth down more in my life and have blinders like horses used to have to only see what is in front of them. I so many times let this this life be what I see yet He is preparing us for much greater things- most importantly to glorify Him and look more and more like Jesus each step of the way- Help me Jesus to be a good student!

    bee blessed
    mary

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  7. Hello my dearest!
    Even though I know this story, it sounds so much more amazing in print! You my friend are a "Women of God" and your journey has inspired so many including myself. I know that the Lord has great things in store for you, new and exciting things!
    I look forward to seeing what's next, What God has planned for Rebecca!
    Have a blessed evening, know that you are loved!
    hugs
    Donna

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  8. Rebecca...loved this post. Seems like alot of us are in that boat right now. I know me personally..Im struggling with what exactly God's will is for me. I am in a job I hate..and I keep telling myself surely God would not want me in a place I hate. I love what your father said " nothing matters but loving the father" oh how true that is.

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  9. Oh my.... I stumbled (and when I say stumbled, I mean God led me) upon your blog. Your story and your honesty and transparency has blessed me so much. I am going through some things in my life, and after reading your story, and I know that God will be with me... and I will be better because of it.... and "nothing matters but loving the Father". Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

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  10. Dear Friend, thanks for this post - it helps me to better see just where you were when I walked into your shop in May 2010 and after speaking with you asked if you would be the speaker at our Women's event in Va and tell your faith story...... God always amazes me how the pieces fit...... Continue your sweet seeking

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  11. My dear friend.... I can only imagine how many spirits will be lifted because you shared your story.
    You are living as a true disciple. <3

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  12. Rebecca,
    Thanks for being so honest and keeping it real...I know it hurts,yet I know it feels good to be free. I can't wait to see the next 5 years you are a child of the Lord and he will show you that.

    Smiles, & Blessings,
    Sheila

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  13. Thank you for sharing your story and for being the inspiration you are.

    FlowerLady

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  14. I, too, read it all and I am so glad. Thank you so much for your honesty and inspiration. You are a blessing. I have been through periods where I can't hear God also and I am a leader who encourages others to stay in His Word, because that is where we hear Him and get to know who He is! Yet I now know (as you do) that those are the times He is really trying to get our attention, teach us things that will help us to continue growing and becoming that woman of God He intends for us to be. "His power is made perfect in weakness" (2Cor. 12:9)--so reassuring to know that it is not ourselves we need to rely on but the power of His Holy Spirit. Hard to let go of our self-reliance--I always struggle with trying to do it all on my own. Thank you for sharing with us on this blog--excited to see where this journey takes you. XOXO

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  15. THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart........

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  16. Oh my sweet! Tears are rolling down my face! Did you do this post for me! I believe you did! I've told you time and time again how happy I am that God brought us together. He has definitely worked through you for me! I don't have any idea what God has in store for me but I must be patient and wait. Thank you for this post.
    Love you!
    tot

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  17. Rebecca,
    Thank you for sharing your story.Sometimes we think other people have it so easy and all figured out.And then we see that they are like us trying to figure it all out.And in the hand of all this is God his love and presence.I know he is guiding you!As he guides me and all of his children.He has plans for you.And I think part of his plans are this blog.Sharing his scripture and words!What could be better than that! You are a beautiful soul!
    xx
    Anne

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  18. What a powerful and touching testimony. Brought tears to my eyes and a big dose of reality for me. Last year I have to say, was a massive challenge for me and my family. Starting over at 48 with children still at home. Praying that I did not forget everything about nursing and that I could actually get a job after being home and self employed for so many years. Still wanting to do the creative things I love. Several prayers later-and all of them answered-I can truly say that I am in a far better place than I was years ago! I always felt like and still do that everything is meant for a reason. Good or bad. During those times when I was numb thinking about what to do and which way to go-God always seemed to present the answer. He has never failed me! And that I am truly thankful for. Love ya girl!!! You will get through this. I can't wait to see what God has in store for you!!!! Tiina

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  19. I have read each word of this post today with anticipation for the next word. First I want to say thank you for being so real and open and honest with your readers. REALNESS of a person means so much to me personlly. I truly felt I could sense your heart and spirit. God has a plan for all of our lives there is no doubt. I say this a lot to the ladies in my Bible study class...If God carries us to it He will carry us through it. He loves us so much and only wants what is best for us and what will bring Him glory! He's got your back sister. Praying for you. Hugs and blessing, Cindy

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  20. Miss R...

    I read every word and I promise you it was like reading the story of my own life a few years back. I, too, was humiliated by the loss of a business I worked so hard at. When I walked away I was forced to take a job I hated (retail mgmt) to help dig my family OUT from the ashes of my dreams...

    What I know today is that God allowed the ripping-up in my life so I could begin anew. I was shredded. Exposed. Rough, truly sorrow-filled days were ahead and I only thought losing my business is what would take me down. It wasn't...it was my pride.

    Today I still work at what I love with a tiny 10'x 10'space, a website that sometimes falters and a return to some eBay selling (which is good exposure). I try with everything within me to be grateful for God's blessings and to honor my Savior, Jesus Christ, first. When my relationship with Him is my priority I know everything else will be fine for I am overshadowed by His mighty love.

    Thank you for your honesty...brutal and real. You've blessed and encouraged many more than you can imagine by your words...and your faith.

    Love, Rebecca @AGP

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  21. Rebecca, Thank You So Much for opening your HEART and SOUL too us. You have been and will continue to be such a BLESSING for us all. Praying for GOD'S guidance for all of us in these hard times. Dream again Girl...

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  22. Dear Rebecca, You are so willing to give your love to others, that is why so many blog friends send their love to you. You know that God will always be by your side. Thank you for sharing your story...we all have one. You are in my thoughts and prayers. xoxo, Susie

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  23. Rebecca,
    Your strength and honestly are truly an inspiration to many. You are such a blessing to anyone whose life you have touched! When ever I had my life turned upside down (and there have been many). my wiser than wise daughter reminds me that God always has something better in mind to those that have true faith.We as humans just are impatient and our society is a want it do it now...
    Lovely writing my dear
    Gale

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  24. Oh Rebecca, our God is an awesome God, to Him be the glory! We got everything we need, we got HIM.

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  25. Dearest sweet Rebecca,
    This story of yours, have given me many thoughts to think, thankyou friend.
    Life isen`t easy here, too,-those years,--- and I also struggles to go on ,seing the best in the bad,
    holding on, to the shop for a few years more.But I every day thank the Lord for a new beautiful day!
    Blessings and love.
    Dorthe

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  26. You are such an inspiration to all of us, Rebecca. The heartfelt, honest, and "down on your knees" way you gave your testimony will affect all those who read it. God has truly placed your feet on another path, another journey, where he will be glorified. Bless you, sweetie. You are amazing!

    xoxo laurie

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  27. you handle life with such grace and blessing, so glad I visited.
    Karen

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  28. Oh Dear Rebecca, what a Heartfelt and transparent Post to reveal a Testimony that is sure to Minister to others wandering in the Wilderness for a Time or feeling a disconnect from their Spirituality and Relationship with the Lord. Right now this is a Post I can certainly relate to, I feel a strong Relationship with the Lord and yet He is Silent right now as I am faced with many challenges and feel in limbo as to what to do on many fronts. It can be a very confusing and sorrowful Season when things are going down and others change drastically and the adjustments one needs to make aren't always done with clarity or Divine Guidance because you aren't able to hear His Voice in the matter in spite of Prayers going up about it constantly. So I too am left with Trust... and a Word and Revelation I received just last week from a Message {paraphrased}: Everything will be alright, Trust God, be a Redeemer, continue to do the right thing and allow God to work on the rest as YOU ENTER INTO HIS REST, which is the ONLY THING YOU have to Labor to do! Wow... was it really that Simple... just quit the Labor of everything else and only Labor to enter into His Rest!? Yep... it began the turning point. I'm not completely there yet as He is apparently still working on the rest *winks*, but as long as I keep striving to maintain my presence in His Rest, my Spirit is now at Peace as the rest sorts out some kind of way because I DO Trust Him with my Eternity, so why not everything else as well! *Smiles* Hugs and Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

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  29. Shoot, I just wrote out a comment and erased it by accident!:) In my eloquently stated comment I mentioned that the computer wasn't my forte and reading on it was/is not my preferred method of reading...anyway. My sister-in-law just today directed me to your blog and I am so glad that she did! You are a dear Sister in Christ that expresses herself so well and obviously touches the life of many.
    I see a woman named Anne commented "sometimes we think other people have it so easy and all figured out". Oh so true, why do we still ever think that? We are all fallen creaatures needing the Lord to love and redeem us. We will be whole and with Him for eternity but for now need His mercy, grace and strength on a minute by minute basis.
    Thank you for being so open and honest. Thank you for being an encouragement to those of us who are also travelling this road. God Bless You.

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  30. Hi Rebecca

    I am glad you have come out of this with all your faith and humor intact. You have a wonderful family and in the end that is all that matters.

    One day I will get to meet you at Kane County. I haven't made it this year but maybe next.

    Hugs

    FredaB

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  31. My daughter in law told me about your blog and I am so glad she did. I can so relate to your beautiful story! There is no way I could have written as beautifully as you did though. I too had a shoppe for 6 years, my pride and joy, a huge house I was turning into a retreat center when the bottom fell out for us. I can see the heart and soul that went into your shoppe. People who have never owned a shoppe cannot begin to understand the work, emotion and energy that goes into making it a place of serenity for others.
    I too have a fierce faith and love for the Lord and am now in a better place that I never would have experienced if I didn't close my shoppe. God is so good. I hope to get to know you better. You are quite an inspiration. It takes a really 'big' person to share a story like yours! Kudos to you darling!

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  32. love you dear Rebecca, what a precious post!

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  33. R.E.,
    Reading this post and then the comments, two thoughts came to my mind.
    1. You're preaching to the choir...and we need it'cause...
    2. We're all in the same boat, but some of us(me) are afraid of stepping out of it.
    "He quit talking." You have no idea how those three words hit me square in the face. To read your struggle and then of the moment He "SPOKE"...girl I got goosebumps.
    I'm one (I hope) of the new friendships that came around these past five years and I can't begin to explain how my life has been enriched because of it. Your bravery, eloquence, grace and beauty gives me the courage to try, do and share God's messages. You remind me when I need reminding the glory is His and His alone.
    Thank you my darlin' friend for the honesty you share in a sea of fabrications.
    XO
    Deb
    P.S. John 15:5 is going to be added to my business cards. Thank you for the inspiration.
    P.P.S. I have to add you have such a unique style, I can spot your eye for details in photos anywhere!

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  34. I seem to remember that you squeezed in a little trip to England before and after your trip to Paris. Not worth mentioning I guess.

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