I don’t know what to “title” this blog…so get your coffee!

They say your title should “grab” your audience, but what if you just want to ramble? I have so much I want to say and just don’t know how to categorize it into a “topic”…ever been there? A lot of thoughts running through my head most of which you, my reader, are probably not the slightest bit interested in. Back in the day I was a “journal” girl. You were just writing, keeping a diary, so to speak..you weren’t trying to be interesting, creative or trying to grab the attention of anyone. Bloggin has taken journaling to a whole new level now hasn’t it?

Let’s see where do I begin…well, last week was my first week to take care of just Kash, my two yr. old grandson, by himself. His 5 yr. old brother had his first week of kindergarten. I’ve spoken to Ethan and he claims his first week went well. He said he learned “science”. By science he meant he had learned how popcorn kernels become popcorn. I thought that was pretty neat. Kash and I had some good quality time together. A week ago today, (last Wed) we had a bunch of errands to run. Kash likes to get in the car seat and go errand running with Maw Maw, but when Ethan was here we rarely did, because Ethan was such a homebody and didnt’ like running errands.
One of the stops we made was to Walmart to pick up a few groceries and a potty chair. (I know, he’s a little slow on the potty front).

Kash w new potty chair

Kash w new potty chair

I love this next one, especially…

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Kash and I had a nice neighborhood walk last Wed, before we went errand running, so it was a full morning. We purchased a bucket of chicken to bring home for lunch. I was lifting him in and out of the car several times that morning, and took him to see his mama at work also. While there she asked me to lift him up over a counter so she could kiss him. That was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”…not literally…but I have been (as they say in Texas) “down in my back” ever since. Seems kinda ironic since Kash’s mama was scheduled to have back surgery on Friday. I told her I was having “sympathy pains”. LOL

On Thursday, Paw Paw had to help me care for Kash more extensively since I had had a pretty painful and sleepless night and couldn’t hardly straighten up. I’m not sure if I had pulled a muscle or if it was the sciatic nerve problem I’ve had in the past, but I alternated heat and ice Wed, Thurs, Fri and was able to move a little better by Saturday. Turning over in bed is still quite painful, but I am at about 90%. Of course, this is what usually happens when I am fixing to take some time off and plan to go for a fitness walk or run each morning. Kash was gonna be at his other grandmother’s and with his dad from last Friday thru this entire week, and Granny went to the Hospice house for 5 days on Monday. Needless to say, no dedicated exercise has occurred as planned. Which takes me to the blog topic I was pondering: “MY LIFESTYLE, THEN & NOW”.

Back in late 2010 and early 2011 prior to Granny coming home to be under our care, I was leading a very active, fit and healthy lifestyle having lost 55 lbs with Weight Watchers. I lost the weight in 2006/2007 and maintained the loss until I quit working for them as a leader and was forced a few months later to become Granny’s full-time caregiver. (I only say “forced” because we had no other options). Since, I was already stuck and home caring for her I volunteered to also take care of my oldest daughter’s two youngest children. Combined with these two facts was a third: The gym where I worked out also sold out and went out of business. I could no longer go anyway, since there was no daycare at the gym, and Granny needed me – suffice it to say, my lifestyle drastically changed …

PRE-GRANNY:

Ladies Workout Express

Ladies Workout Express

POST GRANNY

At church, 15 lbs heavier

At church, 15 lbs heavier

My lifestyle then, was going to the gym 3 times a week, walking or running a 5k at least 2 – 3 times a week, weighing and measuring all my food and tracking every BLT (bite, lick or taste), inspring others to do the same blah, blah, blah…sorry if I’m boring you. My lifestyle now, is cooking, cleaning, taking care of Granny and children, reading, writing/blogging, some TV, snacking, and quilting/crafting. I’ve also done some DIY home improvement. Moral of the story: I stay busy, but healthy eating and dedicated exercise has fallen by the wayside. I want to get back to it and am working on a plan. I know from experience that my head has gotta be in the game before I begin! And, although I’ve begun tracking my intake again this week…I’m still struggling with my eating. I’m not beating myself up or complaining because I know this is where God has chosen to place me at this time. He also knows that I preferred my previous life to the current one. But, that being said, it’s not my will but His to be done in my life. So, for now..I stand because

we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

I also enjoyed a visit a week and a half ago from my baby girl. I was gonna blog and title it “My baby girl has arrived” thinking it would grab someone’s attention and they would think I’d had a baby LOL !! At 62 and post menopause that would truly be an immaculate conception! 🙂

Arriving at Mom's house

Arriving at Mom’s house

Everytime Tanya arrives you would think she was moving in for a month! This was a quick weekend trip. She lives in Wichita Falls, TX…so if you are ever in need of a realtor – she’s one of the cities top ones!

We got a sitter for Granny and while Tanya was here she took her step-dad and I out for dinner.

Linda, Jerry & Tanya 0813

We relaxed most of the time she was here but some of the time I had to share her with her older sister and her neice and nephews. Fun was had by all! I will see her again at Thanksgiving when she & her husband, Rob will be entertaining us in their new home (we haven’t seen yet).

So, having a break from Kash and from Granny has allowed me some free time for my most favorite hobby: Patchwork quilting!! “Online tutorials, where have you been all my life??” I began in 2012 with simple patchwork, but thanks to these tutorials have evolved! I’m having so much fun learning and doing and am now paying it forward by teaching some of my girlfriends the techniques I’ve learned.

My baby step-son his wife are expecting in Feb. This is my second baby quilt:

Baby quilt

Baby quilt

Colorful 9 patch

Colorful 9 patch

Chevron Pillow Sham

Chevron Pillow Sham

Country Lace

Country Lace

This Saturday I will be having my third fellowship with some ladies from church. We will enjoy refreshments and I will have at least 2 cutting and sewing stations set up so we can get started on our quilts for Christmas.

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Last but not least…since we weren’t able to go anywhere for this time of respite (you will recall, we went to Fort Worth for Anniversay Celebration last month), my sweet, thoughtful hubby planned a little excursion to Lake of the Pines lastnight to visit one of our favorite older couples from church. We just had a relaxing visit and a walk in the woods. (I’m an outdoors, camping type person but hubby is not). That’s why this was especially thoughtful and kind of him. He knows I like to go to the woods!

Well, I hope I haven’t bored you to tears with running my mouth…Church fellowship tonight and two more days of sewing and (depending on my back) maybe a walk in the park or two before Granny returns.

I just don’t understand! Warning: Controversial subject

Let me first say that this is hindsight talking. It has taken many years of soul searching, God seeking and therapy to reach this place but that being said:

I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU CHOOSE TO REMAIN STUCK!! I remember back in the late eighties or early nineties saying that to the Christian counselor I had sought help from. He asked me “how does that make you feel?” I replied, “I feel stuck!” His next question to me was “what do you need to do to feel unstuck?” And then, rather than giving me the answer he let me work it out in my own way and in my own time. He was an EXCELLENT COUNSELOR and I will be forever grateful for the many sessions that I had with him. He really helped me!

Why do you continue to blame your past for why you are the way you are? Why do you continue to blame others for your faults? Why do you continue to hold a grudge about your upbringing? WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO REMAIN STUCK IN YOUR SUFFERING? Why are you still mad?

Now, if you are offended by my questions, you might have to do some serious introspection and soul-searching yourself. There are many of you that I have come in contact with thru my years of recovery and I wanted so badly to show you the error of your ways. It’s like a new convert wanting to tell everyone about Jesus after they get born again! HA! 🙂 Unfortunately, most of it falls on deaf ears. That’s why I’ve resorted to not saying anything and just praying for you. I love you. I hurt for you. And I do know a better way. I’ve not “arrived”. I still struggle. My previous blog post will attest to that fact. But Matthew 5:43-48 speaks to how we are to behave towards those that dislike us etc; It says:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

I hear you saying, “but you don’t know how bad it is. You don’t know the atrocities I’ve suffered. I was absused, molested, left alone, not fed, neglected. I can’t imagine how a loving God would allow such a thing to happen”! Well, I don’t have all the answers and this will seem unsympathetic – but IT DOESN’T MATTER! God sees your pain. And He wants you to turn it over to Him. Hanging on to it is harboring unforgiveness. Some folks CHOOSE TO wear the hurts of their past like a badge of honor. It allows them to never really achieve all that they desire to achieve in life. As long as they can blame someone else for things they don’t have to take responsibility for what happens or doesn’t happen. Is that you?

Dr. Phil would ask you, “how’s that working for you?” Resentment is grudge holding. And it’s a sin! I can’t be saved if I stay mad at you, or vice versa. I love you. Do you hear me? I don’t care what your socio-economic status is; your heritage is or anything else for that matter. But, I admit – I do lose patience and have a harder time loving you when you CHOOSE TO continue to wallow in it! Get over it!! Life is too short!! I tend to look at the glass as half full, rather than half empty. No, it wasn’t always that way…but there is too much life to be living to continue to feel sorry for yourself.

I like what the Life Connection in my Recovery Devotional bible says about getting past it.
It says,

Ultimately, what happens inside of us is more important than what goes on outside. Yes, we are accountable for both our behavior and our attitudes, and at times we need to “fake it in order to make it,” but true, lasting change in our behavior patterns needs to happen from the inside out. Even if we do good things such as give to the needy, pray regularly, fast, or stop drinking, we will not grow much emotionally or spiritually unless our actions stem from our inner being–the part of us that has submitted to God.

So, forgive me if I seem preachy sometimes, or seem like I know it all. I don’t! But, I do know that “letting go and letting God” has gotten me to where I am today. I’ve been around that block more than once.

To “Let Go” Takes Love:

To “let go” does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can’t do it for someone else.
To “let go” is not to cut myself off, it is
the realization I can’t control another.
To “let go” is not to enable, but to allow
learning from natural consequences.
To “let go” is to admit powerlessness, which
means the outcome is not in my hands.
To “let go” is not to change or blame
another, it is to make the most of myself.
To “let go” is to not care FOR, but to care ABOUT.
To “let go” is not to FIX, but to be SUPPORTIVE.
To “let go” is not to JUDGE, but to allow another
to be a human being.
To “let go” is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.
To “let go” is not to be protective, it is to
permit another to face reality.
To “let go” is not to deny, but to accept.
To “let go” is not to nag, scold, or argue, but instead to search
out my own shortcomings and to correct them.
To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires but to take
each day as it comes, and to cherish myself in it.
To “let go” is not to criticize and regulate anybody
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To “let go” is not to regret the past, but to grow
and to live for the future.
To “let go” is to FEAR less and to LOVE more.

I have tried to live by this creed for many years. Some days are easier than others. Unfortunately, I am carnal – and still wear a coat of flesh. And I still have many friends and family that I still want to rescue from their despair. The way I see it – rescuing is enabling. They will remain STUCK by their own behaviors and attitudes but I can also facilitate them remaining STUCK if I don’t follow the Lord’s leading. Right now, the Lord is prompting me to remain SILENT and pray and fast.

If anyone knows the author of the above creed, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

TO BE CONTINUED…

BE YE ANGRY,

AND SIN NOT; let not the sun go down upon your wrath. Ephesians 4:26 It is not a sin to be angry, but the expression of that anger can become sin.

I received some upsetting news lastnight. I admit – I was angry! I was perplexed and didn’t know what to do with the news. My first human instinct was to lash out. I wanted to rage, rant, vent – call it what you may. And in earlier days BC (before Christ), I would have. It would have been WAR! But, then I did what every spirit filled, spirit led Christian SHOULD DO. I took it to the Lord in prayer. My flesh still wanted to argue with God. My flesh still wanted to lash out. My flesh still wanted to get even. But where would it get me? Things would just get worse, wouldn’t they? Surely, they wouldn’t improve! I wanted to “right fight” (as Dr. Phil often says). But, as I continued in prayer I feel like God reminded me of one of my favorite quotes and tag line on this blog:

“Life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it”. And so, I’ve chosen NOT to react to it, AT ALL.

Another version says it this way: “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4: 26-31

I’m sad at the news I received. But, I’m no longer angry. I hurt also. But, the Lord doesn’t fail. He will fight my battle for me! “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:14 I often pray for those that don’t like me. “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matthew 5:44 I always try to walk in forgiveness towards those that have hurt me. Hurting people hurt others. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”. Ephesians 4:32

So, I went to bed lastnight and slept peacefully. I didn’t obsess about the situation because I had prayed. God answered. Today, as I continue in his word…he continues to answer. I’m thankful for a God who knows me. He’s numbered every hair on my head! I will have more to say on this subject in a week. Stay tuned.

The best patient!

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My Mother in law was told two years ago that she had two months to live. Since she is still alive, obviously, God had a different plan from what man had. As I was feeding her breakfast this morning, and thinking of the “control” I had to give up – and all the surrendering I had to do – I was overcome with emotion for what a great patient she has been and just how easy she has made it on me! God just does things RIGHT! He doesn’t screw up like we do! He’s always RIGHT ON TIME!

aka “Granny” is under HOSPICE care which means I do have an aide come in three times a week to bathe her and a nurse that visits once a week to check vitals etc; The rest is up to my husband and I. I am the sole person that feeds her three tiems per day. She is on a pureed diet, therefore all of her food has to be pulverized in a food processor before I can feed it to her. Ninja, you are a lifesaver! Granny is entirely bedfast and not in control of her bowels, so I am the person solely responsible for keeping them moving and keeping her cleaned up. (She has a catheter for her urine which sometimes doesn’t work real well thus the need to change the sheets etc;)

God knows the beginning from the end. He sees down the road where we don’t see. That’s why I am confident that he knew (WHEN I DIDN’T) excatly what I WAS & AM capable of when he brought Granny into our home for her final days – how ever long they may be.

She lived a quiet, gentle existence with a life dedicated to God before getting sick – and now she’s unable to read her bible or even being in church! And yet He had spent at least 20 years building up a fire in me for the things of God, so I could be her caregiver and substitute. God knew what he was doing! She never complains! She is the BEST PATIENT! While eating breakfast this morning (Eggs, Sausage & Cheese) with coffee & water – she had to be reminded to suck. She was weak and was very slow in drinking her coffee thru a straw. I had to encourage her with every sip to “suck harder”.

Let me add, we are not trying to “sustain or prolong her life”…we are ready for her to go, when God is ready to take her. We are just trying to make her last days on this earth as comfortable and enjoyable as is possible considering our circumstances and limitations.

Yesterday afternoon (see pic), while eating lunch (because she was eating very slow), I asked her three times if she “was full”. She shook her head “no” each time, and so I continued to feed her. She has a great appetite most days and she cleaned the entire plate of food!

I just think how smart God is! He knew that if I was put in charge of my own mother’s care that it would be an entirely different story!! My mother is a whole different person from whom I describe in this blog. She would be complaining non-stop and nothing would ever be right! Proof that the old adage is true “distance makes the heart grow fonder”…my mother lives over 2000 miles away! My sis and bro have to put up with her and she’s in much better shape than Granny even though she’s only 3 years younger.

I just wanted to PRAISE GOD PUBLICLY for knowing me, urging me to surrendar entirely (wasn’t easy), allowing Him to shape me and mold me, and for TRUSTING me in the care of a marvelous woman of God! I will do it, until and when He calls her home.

Interesting conversation with my 12 yr. old grandson

Preston is my 12 yr. old grandson. I don’t often have an opportunity to spend much time with him, so I’m pleased that for the past month he has come over with his two younger brothers while his mom was at work. (Most of the time he and his 15 yr. old sister stay at home during the summer or stay with friends.)

Let me preface what I’m about to say first by saying I don’t like “indecisiveness” or “wishy washyness”. I like people who are resolute! They know what they want and what they don’t want. Maybe that’s a tall order for a 12 yr. old, but it’s at least a “teaching moment” the way I see it. Preston is very “wishy washy” or “diplomatic” in his responses to me. I feel like he gives me the answer that he thinks I want, rather than what he really thinks. Often he will answer a question with a question. He often pauses before he answers trying to figure out if he’s “in trouble”. I need to point out that my grandson is a very polite young man and I have very little difficulty or challenges with him. But this little personality characteristic has become quite obvious and apparent. I have my theory on where it stems from but don’t care to blog all the details.

After several episodes that Paw Paw and I both witnessed where Preston seemed to be “tap dancing” around an issue, I decided it was time to talk about it. So, I began by quoting the scripture that says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways”. James 1:8 As we continued to chat, I encouraged Preston to take a stand on things and if he truly believed a certain way to let his yes be yes, thus quoting the scripture in James 5:12.

Preston is such a sweet boy. I worry though about his tendancy to want to be a “people pleaser” and therefore reminded him of the well known quote that says, “a man who stands for nothing will fall for anything”. Our kids are bombarded with so much nowadays and have way more pressure on them than I had back in the day. I pray for all my grandchildren daily. For them to be strong, resolute and as Shakespeare said, “to thine own self be true” is just a small part of what I desire for them.

I’m living vicariously…Part I

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From Ask.com:
Living vicariously through someone means to experience something through someone else. For example, the fanatic may not mind his mediocre life because he lived vicariously through his idol.

Let me preface my blog first by saying,

I’m 62 years old, folks!

I know, I know, it’s only a number and you can site me several examples of folks who have accomplished great feats later in life, right? Very true! But when you relinquish control and allow God to steer the vessel, sometimes your life is not what you intended or desired for it to be.

I said all that you say this: I’m living vicariously through my 43 yr. old son, Troy. Although there are some aspects of his life I don’t care to embrace, he has made me very proud in a couple other areas. Becoming a published author, is one! Pictured is a copy of his first published work that began as merely a hobby. Thanks to group fundraising, self-publishing, and a ton of Facebook fans, his dream became a reality! I have always wanted to be a published author (I don’t count the poem that I paid to have published in a poetry anthology as “published”). LOL Needless to say, my dream has become a reality thru Troy. Neeto! 🙂 What more could a mom want than for her child to be successful in life – especially when she gets a double blessing? He’s blessed and she’s blessed!

But, oh contrare – that’s not all! Troy also works in radio, something I always thought would be a fun job, too! (I don’t count selling radio advertising for a small Christian radio station as “having a job in radio” either!) LOL Radio is actually his primary occupation and has been for more than two decades. I’ve never been able to hold down a job for that long, either!! Way to go, Troy!! Mama is truly busting her buttons! What began as a boyhood interest in music, developed into an education in Broadcasting school, to many jobs and travels as a disc jockey to “production work” (don’t know what his actual title is), for a nationally syndicated radio talk show. Wow! I hope I did something right as his mom, but I really can’t take credit for any of it. He is his own man, and always was! I always thought it would be fun to have my own radio talk show, kinda like Dr. Laura or to write my own newspaper column like Ann Landers – thus combining my desire to write as well as work in radio. Neeto!

But, instead I’m living vicariously through my son, Troy while I take care of a 92 yr. old bedfast mother-in-law. Some would say, I have a higher calling right now. I would say, I’m just trying to allow God to work through me and not get in the way of what His plans are for me right now. I’m a proud mama, living out her dreams; just not the way I had planned to. Thanks Troy!

I want to be remembered for being weak

Linda & Granny 2

When I was up to my elbows in feces this morning for a woman who has done me no wrong and has blessed me with an awesome husband, I was reminded once again that when I die I want to be remembered for overcoming all sorts of adversity in my life! Having attended alot of funerals preached by some awesome men of God, a lot of nice things are usually said about the departed. Many times the things that are said, people in attendance DID NOT know about that person.

The family usually meets with the preacher before the funeral to share things about their loved one that the preacher MAY NOT have even known!! I would really like to write a book about my life (I know that sounds very narcissistic and egotistical), but ONLY as a means to IMPACT someone elses life in a positive way. I want to be a WITNESS, not just in life; but in death as well.

Paul said it best when he said, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong.” II Cor. 12:9-10

This little duty of taking care of my mother-in-law (for his sake) is small by comparison to some other things I’ve experienced in life. I receive high praise from many for being her full-time caregiver. To me it seems unwarranted, uncalled for, unnecessary and not at all a BIG DEAL. It’s just what God has called me to do, at this time in life.

Because when I read that scripture, especially the last part I hear DEPRESSION, DIVORCE, ESTRANGEMENT, JOB LOSSES, DISAGREEMENTS/ARGUMENTS, SICKNESS, MISUNDERSTANDINGS – shall I go on? They have all been a part of my life, and much of it very painful – but for what it’s worth – they have made me strong because of have relied on HIM in my time of weakness! I am who I am today, because of the things I’ve gone through. No victim here – but victorious in Christ Jesus!

If I can’t be AUTHENTIC I’d rather not Live!

By people who like me, I’ve been told that I’m “real”.  Others will say, that I “tell it like it is”.  Some say, that I’m “all business” or that I’m “brutally honest”.  I’m sure there are other things that I’m forgetting but suffice it to say that I agree with all of them.

On the other hand for those that don’t like me or don’t know me well some of the adjectives that have been used or things that have been said are that I’m “rude”, “brash”, “snarky”, “too outspoken” etc; I’m sure there are MANY other adjectives in the “don’t like” category as well, but if they don’t like you, they don’t usually tell you to your face what adjectives they are using.

My husband’s favorite depiction of me is that I am “short spoken”.  I had never heard that one, until marrying him 14 years ago.  He blames it on me being born a Yankee, transplanted and grown up north, and then migrating to East Texas.  People here “just don’t understand me”.  Ha!

I freely admit that I’ve had my fair share of relationship difficulties, with friends, family and bosses.  And yes, I’ve asked myself the age old question, “what’s the common denominator?”  DUH, that would be ME!  That realization has caused me much soul-searching, many hours of therapy, and tons of pain and heartache.  But, the most important thing it has done for me has caused a hunger to grow in my heart for something bigger and more powerful than me – a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

I’ve heard it said that “the only person you can change is YOU”.  I couldn’t agree more, but to reiterate the title of this blog, “if I can’t be AUTHENTIC, I’d rather not live”.  So, although I have changed a lot over the years it has not been of my doing. It has been because of my hunger for God. It has been because of my willingness to turn my will over to God’s will for my life.  It has been a “divine” change.  Minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day I am becoming who God created me to be. He chose me for more.

MARK 8:34-35

Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

How many mores times & ways does it have to be said?

Matthew 10:39, Luke 17:33, Matthew 16:25, Luke 9:24

Those relationship difficulties still exist. I am not FREE from pain or heartache.  I still struggle to be who God’s wants me to be and to not offend anyone but especially those I truly love. (I’m also referred to as a “people person”.)

But, as I continue to abide in Him and abide in His word I find myself being made over in His image.  That is what He desires for me, and that is what I desire too! He gives me strength and He gives me peace and He shows me in His word how to be “authentic” in Him. Non-believers would call it being “brain-washed”.  I call it “finding the REAL me, the one He intended for me to be.

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