Last Day!

IMG_4384Tomorrow is my daughter’s last day of elementary school.  Today was mine.  I volunteered at the end of the school year Luau and helped some kids make bookmarks out of paper clips and yarn. I treated myself to a SnoCone in the parking lot and I left at noon. I was talking with some moms early in the day about this being my last event there and wondered when it would hit me that I really wouldn’t be going back to the school. It hit me when I was leaving the building.  I had my hand on the door to leave and I saw the principal unloading boxes in the hall.  I thought about saying “good-bye” but thought I might tear up.  I didn’t want to cry.  What in the world would I cry about? I’m leaving this school building after volunteering there for 24 years! Yes, I have had kids in this building for 24 years. I wonder if it would’ve been so hard if I had only had one or two kids and had only been a part of that place for 7-10 years like most families.  Is this such a big deal because I have walked these halls for so long?

Or is it really a big deal at all?  Not really. It’s been kind of fun having seniority there.  I’ve had many opportunities to watch the 5th-grade band students perform their Christmas concert after only 3 months on their new instruments. It’s been fun attending Open House, Science Fairs, Literacy Nights and elementary basketball games. And, even though we joke about having to hear Hot Cross Buns played on the Recorder annually, today it feels like it will be something I miss. I left the building today and there is a good chance I won’t be going back. At this point, I don’t have hopes for grandchildren attending this school and I honestly don’t know if I’m a good enough aunt to really attend those concerts on their behalf. I have officially signed out of that building for the last time.

Maybe this post is a little premature.  My daughter still has one more day at that school.  There’s still a chance that I will have to go and pick up a forgotten clarinet or her extra tennis shoes. I may even find a library book under the couch that will need to be returned. There is just no way to know for sure.

 

When my daughter comes home from school tomorrow, I feel certain that she will have the confidence she needs to move on to the high school in the fall.  The question is, will I? Lord willing, we both will!

I’ll leave you with an oldie but a goodie:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.     Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

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I Hate This Shirt…or Do I?

IMG_4020OK, so you all know I’m a Mom and as much as I hate to admit it, I often do such stereotypical Mom things that I’m embarrassed.  My favorite commercial currently is the Progressive Insurance commercial and my favorite line is “Why is the door open? Are we trying to air condition the whole neighborhood?” It just makes me smile to think that we all do share some of the same memories.  Today, though, I may have struck out some new ground of my own…or maybe not.  Do you other parents sometimes make things disappear in your house? Maybe it’s your kid’s cell phone that is overused and you just hide it under a newspaper for a while just to have some face to face conversation? Maybe you hide that last candy bar and say that they all must have been eaten? Do you ever pretend to NOT see the remote for the TV when they are looking in hopes that the kids will find something else to do for a bit? If you don’t, maybe you should give it a try. However, the above tricks of the trade in the parenting business are harmless, but my following confession may not be. Here we go…

Do you ever permanently make clothes disappear? The too short shorts? The too tight T-Shirt? The stained jersey? The handmade school spirit shirt? The one with a beer ad on it (that was “accidentally” worn to church?) and the ever-popular mismatched socks? Well, I do.

Today, the harmless T-Shirt that is pictured above almost met its’ demise. The threat was made the last time she wore it. “I am so sick of that shirt that the next time I see it in the laundry, I will make it disappear!” There is was today. Clean, fresh, appropriately crumpled in the laundry basket. I picked it up, began to fold it and realized that my chance was right there. I could cut it up and make a dust rag or I could throw it in the bag for the Salvation Army. With it in my hands, I paused and then I decided to fold it gently and put it on her pile of clean clothes to put away. What’s the big deal? What is so wrong with that shirt? It won’t fit forever. I’m sure she’ll decide to stop wearing it someday. Why on earth would that harmless shirt be something that I allow to upset me?

We are heading into the teen years. I will need all the help I can get and I need to work now on a relationship that will weather the real storms that we may face. This shirt cannot have the power to upset me and potentially cause a rift between my daughter and me. The next time I see her wear it proudly (which I am certain will be tomorrow when she sees it on the top of the pile,) I will say a prayer that we will be very careful in choosing our battles. I will be grateful for my healthy daughter and the blessing she is.

Now, I think I will go and let down that cuff on those jean shorts that I think are too short…I don’t think she’ll even notice.

Take a minute to be grateful for the battles you choose not to fight and also click on the commercial link above and have a laugh. I hope it makes you smile as much as it does me!

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give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.                                                                                                                         –1 Thessalonians 5:18 

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Listen Up!

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Many people talk about how the Lord speaks to them.  It may be an audible voice, it may simply be a feeling or intuition or it could be a bunch of circumstances that seem to be pointing you in a certain direction.  For me, I guess it is through my daily devotion time.  Last week I had a perfect example of this.

All week long I struggled with my son who has Reactive Attachment Disorder.  If you don’t know what it is, take a look at some of my previous blogs, but know that this disorder causes chaos in a family. Monday, my journal reads “I woke to two loads of P’s stinking dirty, wet laundry in my washer and my dryer. Wet. Old. Stinky. Not the way I wanted to start my day. ICK! So frustrating.” Wednesday reads, “Oh Lord, bombarded with positives and negatives all the time. Help me to see my part in the negatives. Help me to work on me.” Thursday says, “We had a bad day with P yesterday. He stole from my purse. I want so much more for him than he does. He punishes himself. Lord help him and change me to figure out what I am to do.” Friday reports, ” The school called to say the P had been inappropriate. So much garbage!”  Now, here’s where it gets good. Saturday: “I’m still struggling with Paul. It’s not my nature to be mean yet I wonder what it teaches him for me to give and give? Lord help me.”  So, obviously, I was angry at the events of the week and I was trying to be standoffish, trying to employ the silent treatment, trying to make sure he knew how displeased I was with him. That very morning, I saw a shirt that he needed me to sew and almost sewed it, but I didn’t want to be nice.  I stepped over his shoes instead of putting them away to prove that I didn’t have to care about his things.  However, as I mentioned, it’s not my nature to hold a grudge.  But, I asked the Lord to help me so that was a start.

I continued on with my devotions as I normally do and am currently reading a Once-a-Day Bible and was on Day 13.  I obediently read blah, blah, blah, I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; huh? I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. What? I will? It says I will.  Good scripture. I’m moving on with my day, not dwelling on the negatives.  I asked God for help and He will help and then I will tell of His wonderful deeds.  Wonder when that will be?!

Lastly, for my devotion time, I turn to a book I’m currently reading.  I open the book to where the bookmark is and read….and I kid you not….”When you are angry, humble yourself and give the anger-inducer more of Jesus.  You need to give the person who has angered you exorbitant amounts of mercy, love, forgiveness, and grace because that is what Jesus has given to you.”  I wrote “OUCH” in the margin. Think God might’ve been trying to tell me something? Yeah, so do I.

Knowing that I now had to “give thanks and tell of wonderful deeds” I used this example as an opening for Sunday School that morning.  God does use our lives to teach us more about Him.  Like the margin of my book says, sometimes I have to reply “ouch” to what He says! Be sure to listen up!

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A Book Review – 21 Days of Joy

 

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About the Book

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Title: 21 Days of Joy

Author: Kathy Ide

Genre: Non-fiction, Devotional

Release Date: April 1, 2016

Tour Dates: April 28 – May 11

Oh, the joys—and struggles—of

motherhood!

21 Days of Joy honors mothers of all varieties. Biological moms. Adoptive moms. Stepmothers. Grandmothers. Godmothers. “Second moms.” Even men who “mother” children when circumstances put them in that position.

Whether you are a mother, have one, or know one, these heartwarming fictional stories will touch your soul and help you see that you are not alone. The work you’re doing will have an impact for eternity. And those rewards will make the trials all worthwhile.

God knows every sacrifice you make for the children He has brought into your life. So take a few moments out of your busy schedule to read this book, and get a glimpse of your daily routine from a divine perspective.

Compiler and editor KATHY IDE has written fiction and nonfiction books and is the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors. She is a professional freelance editor and the founder and director of two organizations for editorial freelancers. She has ghostwritten ten nonfiction books and a series of five novels. Kathy makes her home in Orange County, California.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

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Compiler and editor KATHY IDE has been a published author since 1989. She has written fiction and nonfiction books and is the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors. She has ghostwritten ten nonfiction books and a series of five novels. She also writes columns of writing and editing tips for blogs and newsletters. Kathy makes her home in Orange County, California.

Q & A with Kathy Ide

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been writing for publication since 1989 and I’ve been a full-time freelance editor since 1998. I teach at writers’ conferences across the country, and I’m the director of the Orange County Christian Writers Conference here in Southern California. I’m also the founder and director of two organizations for freelance editors: the Christian Editor Connection and The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network.

You’ve created a Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. What inspired you to gather a collection of short fiction stories to be used as devotions?

I’ve always loved Christian fiction, and I’ve seen the power of fiction to touch hearts and change lives, both firsthand and hearing about the experiences of others. But you know, in my quiet times with the Lord, reading a chapter from a novel just doesn’t seem quite appropriate. So a devotional with short fiction stories seemed like a great solution.

Tell us about the books in this series.

Each one contains 21 short fiction stories, followed by brief life applications, each written by a different author. Some contributors are best sellers, some are mid-range authors, and some are new writers. The first book was 21 Days of Grace: Stories that Celebrate God’s Unconditional Love. That came out June 1st of last year. The second book, 21 Days of Christmas, released on September 1st. 21 Days of Love came out January 1st.

Tell us about this third book, 21 Days of Joy.

21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom contains stories about mothers of all varieties. Biological moms. Adoptive moms. Stepmothers. Grandmothers. Godmothers. “Second moms.” Even men who “mother” children when circumstances put them in that position. It makes a wonderful Mother’s Day gift. And it’s a great way to boost your spirit when dealing with your kids—or your mom—becomes challenging.

Tell us about some of the stories in 21 Days of Joy.

Some of the stories are about the struggles moms have dealing with their kids at various ages and stages. Others are about women dealing with their aging mothers. One story is about a young woman who thinks her dreams of having lots of kids are shattered when her fiance dumps her right before the wedding. There are a couple of stories about adopted kids meeting their biological moms. One story is about a barren woman who realizes she actually has lots of children. And one story, written by one of Bob Hope’s comedy writers, is a humorous tale of a woman who applies for the job of mother.

How do you hope readers will use 21 Days of Joy?

This book makes a great gift, with its beautiful debossed hardback cover, full-color interior, even a ribbon page marker. With stories about all kinds of mothers, it’s great for anyone who is a mom, has a mom, or knows a mom.

Like the other books in this series, 21 Days of Joy makes a wonderful daily devotional. And if you want to go deeper, you can get a Study Guide with additional questions about each of the stories. It will be available soon as a free PDF download at FictionDevo.com or as a 99-cent e-book from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

What do you hope readers will get out of reading 21 Days of Joy?

I’m praying the Holy Spirit will speak to the hearts of everyone who reads this devotional about how much God has shown His love for them through the mothers in their lives, and what a tremendous impact women have in the lives of the children God has given them to love.

What is unique about this series?

Most devotionals contain true stories. And those are great! But so many believers today are big fans of Christian fiction … because fiction can be a powerful way to soak in spiritual truths and apply them to our daily lives. In this devotional, the authors share the themes and messages they see in the pieces they’ve written, and encourage readers to look for those types of things in these devotional stories as well as in other fictional things they might read.

What life circumstances worked together to put you in a position to be able to create this series?

Since I’ve been a professional freelance editor for several years, I’m able to edit the submissions I choose to use, polishing them without losing the author’s unique voice. And since I’ve been teaching and speaking at writers’ conferences across the country, I’ve connected with several authors at all levels, including well-known best sellers. So there are a lot of people I can personally ask about submitting to the books in this series. And I’ve developed a strong social media presence, so I can get the word out to other writers as well.

What other books have you written?

I wrote Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, to help writers and editors learn how to proofread manuscripts for typos, inconsistencies, and errors in punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling, according to the industry-standard guidelines.

What do you do besides write?

Read, of course. And go to movies. I also love to travel with my husband. We visit our out-of-state relatives (when they’re not visiting us—which happens often since we live in Southern California). We also enjoy going jet skiing, and camping in our RV.

Can you share some of the names of the authors who have contributed stories to the devotional?

Absolutely! 21 Days of Joy has chapters written by well-known, best-selling novelists, including Deborah Raney, Lynette Sowell, Mary DeMuth, Sherry Kyle, and New York Times best-selling author Cindy Woodsmall. There are also stories by writers you may not have heard of. At the end of each chapter is an author bio that gives some background information, and usually the author’s website. So if you really like a story in the devotional, you can find out what else that author has written. You may just find some new names to add to your favorites list.

And if you haven’t read much Christian fiction, this devotional will give you a small taste of several different authors and genres, without having to commit to reading an entire novel. You might just discover that you actually love Christian fiction!

Where can people purchase the books?

They’re available online at Amazon, ChristianBook.com, Barnes & Noble, and other websites. If you go to FictionDevo.com, you’ll find several links that will take you directly to the ordering pages for all of the books in the series. You can also find them at many Christian bookstores and Barnes & Noble stores.

Review

What a great gift this book would make for a woman in your life…especially a woman who likes fiction and maybe hasn’t even thought of taking time to do a daily devotion.  I believe that this book would get her hooked on both.  The short stories can be read in about 15 minutes, but the life application lesson at the end of each chapter will need to be thought over for longer.  The chapters deal with different life challenges including forgiveness, gentleness, self-worth and acceptance.  The situations in this book are diverse and I believe you will find something for everyone.  As we journey to pursue Joy we end up recognizing that there are some things we need to consider and take into account on our way.  The life application lessons help us to do that.  The characters in each story become our friends and as root for them to find joy and happiness, we, too, will begin to seek it for ourselves.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, April 28

Blossoms and Blessings, April 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 30

Janices book reviews, May 1

Captive Dreams Window, May 2

Mary Hake, May 2

Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 3

Moments Dipped in Ink, May 4

Simple Harvest Reads, May 4 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Bibliophile Reviews, May 5

Carpe Diem, May 6

A Baker’s Perspective, May 7

Bigreadersite, May 7

Artistic Nobody, May 8 (Spotlight)

Margaret Kazmierczak, May 9

proud to be an autism mom, May 10

Beck to Basics, May 10

Aryn the Libraryan, May 11

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away a hardback copy of 21 Days of Grace and an eBook copy of 21 days of Joy to two winners!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cc8e

 

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Laughter Props

IMG_3717I was having a bad morning.  It’s behind me now, but in the heat of the moment, it’s hard to believe that the day can be saved, but it always can!  You can change the way the morning is going by redirecting your thoughts.  In my house, I do that with Laughter Props.  Silly, little goofy things that keep my heart light and bring my attention away from my problems and onto something fun.

The haggard lady in the above picture sits on my kitchen window sill.  Along with a plastic platypus, a plastic cardinal with wings that flap when the sun is shining and a tiny Mexican turtle, just to name a few.  My studio shelf holds a Furby, a duck that squawks when you grab him by the neck and a photo of my friend & I dressed like Pirates complete with her front tooth blacked out.  All things that make me chuckle when I look at them.  I hold on to photos from photo booths, little stuffed animals, and Happy Meal toys if they make me smile.

Today when I angrily threw the spoon into the sink and the sign that says, “Laughter is the Best Medicine” fell into the sink with a clunk, I decided I would try just that and I laughed! I hope you find something that makes you laugh and sit it somewhere you can see it often.  Maybe it will even be a printout of my favorite lady above!

 

 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.                                                                                                                                                                      –Job 8:21

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.                                                                                                                                                         –Prov. 31:25

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A Book Review- Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue

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About the Book

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Title: Guide your Mind, Guard your Heart, Grace your Tongue

Author: Carol Burton McLeod

Genre: Non-Fiction, Christian Living

Release Date: April 3, 2018

Every single one of us with a beating heart has spoken words “under the influence” of warped feelings and slurred thinking. And we soon wish we had the magical power to take those words back. We especially regret the hurtful words we have spoken to those we love the most and know the best. This book may just be the solution.

Carol McLeod reveals that before the words are spoken, they brew in our hearts and are formed in our minds. It’s our thoughts and emotions that determine what words come out of our mouths. Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue is an innovative blueprint that will enable you to take control of your thoughts and feelings in order to grace your tongue. You won’t find pat answers here, but rather powerful strategies based on the Word of God to reroute disordered thinking and cure rotten emotions so your words can be humbly grateful instead of grumbly hateful.

Click here to purchase your copy!

I’ve Got Some Work To Do!

After reading Carol Burton McLeod’s book on Guiding your Mind, Guarding your Heart and Gracing your Tongue, I realize that I have a lot of work to do!  This topic has been on my heart for a long time and Carol does an excellent job of helping me study scriptures that attack this problem.  Her light hearted stories and examples create a nice balance between enjoying the book and actually working through the book.  I found that I was able to do both.  She encourages, relates and teaches, but also delves deeper to formally instruct and convict you to do more to reap the benefits of all that God has created for you to do and be.  Recognizing the complexities of the mind that God gave us and the realization that sometimes I put garbage into that mind will make me more aware of my thoughts in the future.  Also, the wisdom of remembering that your mind was made to worship – not to worry, should bring much peace into my day.

Carol gives practical tips and suggestion for maintaining an intimate relationship with God and experiencing His peace with thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter.  I look forward to doing more than reviewing this book, I look forward to reading it, studying it and reading it again.  It would make a great Book Club or Small Group book to discuss. Though I received this copy for free (Note below), I will be purchasing more copies in the future.  Great book that I would recommend to anyone!

But the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.  — Romans 8:6

About the Author

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Carol Burton McLeod is a popular speaker at women’s conferences and retreats through her ministry, Just Joy!, and is the author of a number of books. Carol hosts a daily radio show, “Defiant Joy! Radio,” which is broadcast in major markets across America. Her blog, “Joy for the Journey” (formerly “A Cup of Tea with Carol”), has been named in the Top 50 Faith Blogs for Women, and her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman’s Heart won a Telly Award for excellence in religious programming.

Enjoy the Book Video

 Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 17

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 17

Genesis 5020, April 18:

Moments Dipped in Ink, April 18

Just the Write Escape, April 19

Mary Hake, April 19

Multifarious, April 20

Bigreadersite , April 20

Bibliophile Reviews, April 21

Carpe Diem, April 22

Power of Words, April 23 (Spotlight)

Among the Reads, April 23

A Baker’s Perspective, April 24

Resolved for Christ, April 25

Beck to Basics, April 26

Artistic Nobody, April 26 (Spotlight)

Inklings and notions, April 27

Jeanette’s Thoughts, April 27

proud to be an autism mom, April 28

Janices book reviews, April 28

Texas Book-aholic, April 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 29

Simple Harvest Reads, April 30

A Greater Yes, April 30

Giveaway

 

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To celebrate the tour, Whitaker House is giving away the following prizes:

Grand Prize: A copy of Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue, “Grace” teapot from Christian Arts Gifts, Whitaker House/Anchor adult coloring book.

1st Place: A copy of Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue, Abba Jerusalem 6” Scented Pillar Candle

2nd Place: A copy of Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue, and Whitaker House/Anchor adult coloring book.

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cd18/guide-your-mind-guard-your-heart-grace-your-tongue-celebration-tour-giveaway

NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

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The Lesson Goes On

textingAlmost a year ago, my family went through a very difficult time.  We were hurt by someone we trusted and though an apology was quickly delivered, the healing took a little longer to arrive.  During that time, I sought counsel from a trusted friend. He knew all parties involved and was able to put things into perspective for me.  He knew that we loved the offender and he told us to respond in love to all parties. In all things, respond in love was his teaching.  He explained that though we were hurt, we taught the person who hurt us a very valuable lesson and that no one will be hurt by him in the same way again.  He shared a story about a time when he unintentionally hurt someone by saying something and that though he wasn’t able to rectify the relationship, he learned to never make the same statement again.

A few weeks ago while driving alone in my car, I thought of my counseling friend. I know he hasn’t been feeling well so I prayed for him. As I was praying for him, I thought of how much he had helped me last year and how I should probably text him and let him know how the afflicted relationship from last year had healed and is better than we could’ve ever imagined. I decided to text him to encourage him and thank him again.  I pulled over to the side of the road to text him when I really felt the Lord convict me. All of a sudden, I realized I didn’t need to text him to thank him, I needed to text him to apologize. The last time I saw him, I said the exact hurtful statement that he had said when he was sharing his situation and I said it to him.  I said it in jest, but still!  What was I thinking?  Why would I do that?! Oh, there’s a ton of reasons beginning with SIN, but still! So, I prayerfully wrote out an apology text and then thanked him again for his wise counsel last year.

Driving on, I waited for the “ding” of a return text.  Nothing. I arrived at my destination and still nothing. The evening passed. Nothing. No response.  Not even a “k.” Strange. But then, I decided that in addition to the Lord humbling me and asking me to apologize, maybe He was humbling me again and not giving me the response.  Did I apologize to make myself feel better or to make my friend feel better?  Does he really need to reply? No, probably not. I struggled with myself and my pride issues, I rethought every word in the text. I placed myself in his shoes. I thought, thought and OVER thought. Enough.  I was prayerful before I texted, my intent was pure, I moved on.

It did give me pause though as I continued to wonder if we often apologize to make ourselves feel better. Lots of soul searching involved in that area.  One evening as I was having dinner with another friend, I shared with her the story since she is also a mutual friend of all involved.  I told her about my new awareness of why we apologize, etc. and how I was still learning from my friend’s response or lack thereof. With a big smile on her face she said, “Oh, I bet you don’t have his new cell phone number!”

Sure enough, I had the wrong number. So my wise friend continued to teach me lessons even without realizing it.  He never got the apology.  I hope he will read this blog so I can finally end this ongoing lesson. I’m sure there is another matter I can give this much time and thought to!

Oh, and Friend, this is for you:

Hey brother. God has had you heavy on my heart and I’ve been praying for your health and strength.  However, He also brought it to my attention that I should apologize to you for the comment I made at the meeting.  You told me the story of how you had offended someone. I remembered the lesson and would not do it to someone else, but for some reason, I did it to you and I am sorry.  You probably had to talk yourself into attending the meeting that evening and then you were greeted by my comments.  Again, my apologies.  I value our friendship and think so highly of you.  You’ve helped me more times than you know! God bless you and I hope you are feeling better and getting ready for Holy Week.

Let’s hope that “better late than never” works in this case. Also, funny how originally I said he had helped me more than he knows…..isn’t that still the truth?  Thanks again and I’m sorry Friend.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.  — Proverbs 17:17

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