Crazy Weeks but God is Good!

September 24, 2014 at 8:08 pm (Family, Personal)

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This past week has been even crazier than most.  It was my birthday week, plus I had the insanity of work as we prepare to change bosses, I had to do my residency days for my grad classes (two 9 1/2 hour days!), I had to prepare for women’s Bible study for Saturday and teaching Sunday School, and there were county fairs to visit :)!  So I’m opening this post with the beautiful flowers hubby bought me for my birthday.  They are making my dining room table bright and cheerful right now!  Then I will start at the beginning…

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We kicked off the week at my parents’ county fair with my darling niece.  There were fun kids’ games…

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…an awesome bee exhibit, complete with free honey samples, mmmm….

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…animals…

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…and of course rides!

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The girls went on the ferris wheel with my dad again this year, but my son didn’t want to.  So he ended up playing the balloon dart game.  He was awesome at it!  Quite the little dart chucker!  At the end, the kids got to meet a fun clown named Holiday and pretend to be scarecrows!

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Fun times!  The following weekend, we headed out to our own local county fair with close friends…

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Kaitlyn and her bestie…

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This girl is so sweet, she went on the ferris wheel with my daughter even though she is horribly afraid of heights and looked like she was going to be sick when the ride was finally over…what a trooper!

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My son got to ride a fun ride with the kids’ other friend…

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Then my daughter and her best friend took to the swings.  When they got off, the friend told us my daughter was flapping her arms and saying, “Yay!  I feel like a Pegasus!”  Too adorable!

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Peas in a pod…

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More fun rides…

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As for the house, things are coming along slowly but surely.  Hubby got a new propane tank installed…

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And he got a lot of the small trees cleared on this side of the house.  This is where we plan on putting a super big garden…so looking forward to that in the spring!!!  I have really missed having a garden this year!  And here is a look at the awesome master bedroom in the making…

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I can’t say I was thrilled when hubby jumped right into turning the extra bedroom into an awesome master, but I am really looking forward to seeing it when it’s all done!  Our dog enjoying the back deck…

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Fall is in the air!  This is my favorite season, and even though we had a really mild summer, I am enjoying the crisp cool breezes and that unmistakable smell of fall.  Lots of pumpkin and toasted marshmallows in my future!  Here is a shot from my daughter’s room.  Her room is probably the most finished at this point, and I love it!

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She’s even gotten really good about making her bed every morning, which is making me ecstatic!  My son has also gotten into helping with the laundry, also a beautiful thing!  And here is the entryway gallery wall I made using the pictures my good friend took of our family in January.  This is a happy spot in a home that is still a work in progress!

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Other than that, my grad school is going really well and homeschooling the kids has been amazing.  My hubby has really stepped up and is getting most of the homeschooling done on the days when I have to go in to work.  I love working with the kids and seeing what they can do and how they learn.  My son amazes me every day!  He is doing phenomenal on the sight words an spelling quizzes each week.  I love it!

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It’s such a blessing to teach them, and I am so thankful we are able to do this right now.

Have a blessed end of the week!

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Remembering 9/11

September 11, 2014 at 4:38 pm (Faith, Personal)

Thirteen years ago today, I was in Tucson, Arizona.  I woke up and went to my college German class without a clue that our nation had been struck by terrorists.  My German teacher explained to the few of us who hadn’t turned on the news that morning that the World Trade Towers in New York and the Pentagon had been attacked.  Four months later, I graduated college; two months after that, I signed on to join the Navy.  Today, I work at one of the buildings that was hit that horrible day 13 years ago.  Up until two years ago, I worked in an office that had been destroyed during the terrorist attack and rebuilt.

Truth be told, I don’t go in to work on the anniversary of 9/11.  I wasn’t there on September 11, 2001, but it’s a very creepy day in that building.  Many of the people who work there today were there on that day 13 years ago.  They remember the terror and they remember the people lost.  It hits a little closer to home than most of us can handle.  The fact is, this isn’t a safe world.  This morning, while doing homeschool with my kids, I told my 6-year-old and my 4-year-old the significance of this day.  There are bad people in this world, people commissioned by the devil himself to drive fear into our hearts.  But if we cling to God’s promises, we have nothing to fear.  I work at a dangerous place in a targeted city.  And those bad people can hurt us physically, but they can’t take away all that God has promised to us if we believe in Christ and live in repentance.  My kids may not fully understand the significance of this day, but I will always make sure they know what happened.

And today, I prayed with my kids…prayed that the families of the victims would find peace and solace in God our Father.  Prayed that God would protect this once Christian nation from the fear with which the devil tries to control us.  Prayed that God would keep everyone commuting into the Pentagon safe on this anniversary.  May this day always be a reminder that no one is safe without the loving protection of God that we find through Christ our Lord and Savior.  God bless you all on this 13th anniversary of 9/11.

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Renewed Love and Faith

September 10, 2014 at 9:47 pm (Uncategorized)

Feeling so grateful for time with friends!  A lunch play date with one of my closest girl friends reminded me why we need those relationships.  Helping her talk through her own problems and doubts truly made me fall in love with God all over.  And I realized how much I do that when I’m talking with close Christian friends.  It’s a time to rehash my own experiences that may help them through a rough patch and just talk freely about the joy, love and faithfulness of Christ.  It’s a time to remember all of the remarkable things God has done throughout my life and renew my trust in Him.  Such an amazing feeling!  I am so very grateful that God has surrounded me with so many amazing Christian women to walk this journey of life and ministry with.

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First Week of Homeschooling

September 8, 2014 at 10:17 pm (Faith, Family, Personal, Uncategorized)

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And finally to the current pictures!  I started with this shot of the white flower in our front garden because this is the most peace and quiet we’ve had in a while.  It’s been wonderful to finally have all of our stuff moved over to the new house and all of the touch ups done on the old house.  But this past week was extremely busy, too.  We started the kids on a homeschooling program.  Hubby and I have decided to tag-team homeschool this year because of the direction public schools are taking.  And we both really feel like it was the right decision.  The kids enjoyed a week of structured learning and the usual activities like cooking, crafts and playing outside.  I took the opportunity to get a few “grade” pictures while we were drawing with chalk on the driveway!

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Love this tree!  I’m going to get the usual chalkboard grade pictures later, but these impromptu shots worked for capturing part of our first week of homeschooling!

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Then after church on Sunday, my daughter begged to have a tea party with this really nice tiny china set my parents got her a while back.  So we made some cucumber sandwiches, added grapes, crackers and chicken nuggets and had a fun little tea party.

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Even my little boy loved it…of course, there was food so…

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To add to the craziness, I also started back to grad school again this week.  I’m getting another Master’s in ministry this time.  It’s really serving two purposes because, much as I want to do this program, I really started it now because I have the Post 9/11 GI Bill from my time in the Navy and it pays a monthly stipend while I’m in school.  And we can use the money right now, especially with hubby devoted much of his three days with the kids to homeschooling.  So yeah, demanding full-time job, homeschooling, Sunday School teaching, running a monthly women’s Bible study and taking graduate classes.  I’m feeling absolutely out of my mind right now.  I am so very thankful for a lot of praying family members and friends…I’m going to need a ton of prayer over the next couple of years.  But hopefully it will all be for God’s plan and purpose.

Have a blessed week!

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The Birthday Party

September 8, 2014 at 10:06 pm (Family, Personal, Uncategorized)

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Phew, just going through all of these posts is exhausting!  I would have liked to have devoted more time to each one, but I really just have to get them down at this point.  So next up in the end of summer craziness was my daughter’s birthday party.  The only weekend we could do it was the one right after we got back from the beach.  She had a great day, so that’s what matters.  The cake above is the castle I made for her.  It was a quick job because, quite frankly, I had very little time to prepare since we were still in the process of moving.

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But she had her cousin and her friends there, so she was thrilled.  And she looked adorable in her My Little Pony shirt, tiara and the ruffle skirt I crocheted her!

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A very rare moment when my grandmother had all of her great grandkids together!  I saw my cousin’s little girl for the first time, and it was so wonderful!  She’s a cutie…and fit right in with my kids and niece!

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The Pin the Tail on Pinkie Pie game I made…

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I also made a Feed Applejack game, but the dog got to it before I could take a picture.  The party moved too quickly for me to get many pictures, so I had to take some afterward.  This is a PVC pipe Applejack we used for hobby horse races…

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There were also Twilight Sparkle and Rarity hobby horses, but the boys made short work of them :).  Overall, it was a great day, and I’m so glad we were able to fit it in with all the craziness!

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The Beach

September 8, 2014 at 9:58 pm (Family, Personal, Uncategorized)

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Ok, so next up in the photo dump :)…  Just a few days after we settled on the house, we headed off to the beach for a family vacation!  It wasn’t the best of timing considering we needed to move, but it had been planned in April and my parents had already paid for the beach house.  And it turned out to be just the break we needed from a stressful summer!

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The beach house…

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Beautiful pink oleanders…

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The kids had a blast on the beach!  And I loved the cute Gilligan hats we found at one of the surf stores!

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Swimming in the pool at the beach house…

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Love this shot of hubby and our daughter!

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Checking out the wild horses…

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The bachelor…

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Love, love, love this little pigtailed head!

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Splashing!

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Cousin time!

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Our good family friend we’ve known for many years…

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Popple carrying Colton into the water…

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There was a hurricane off the coast, so the weather the tide was fierce and the sky was beautiful!

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A ghost crab during the day…

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Having a blast!

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Strike a pose!

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Hubby looking nice and relaxed!  This was actually the best family vacation yet for him.  Sometimes it’s hard to go on vacation with your spouse’s family, but this one was perfectly relaxing and enjoyed by all!

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Love this kiddo!

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Toes in the sand!

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Sandcastles are hard work…

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Ghost crab collection…

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If you have never heard of ghost crabbing, you really should try it next time you’re at the beach!  It’s a lot of fun.  You just take flashlights out when it gets dark and spotlight these little creatures as they skitter across the sand.  My brother-in-law took it a step further and actually caught the crabs in a bucket.  It was pretty cool until the crabs started fighting each other, so we released them and stopped catching them like that.  But at least I got some neat photos from it!

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My niece wanted me to capture this picture…

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She’s such a cutie!

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Mini-golfing…

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My baby girl and me…

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It was red flag weather at the beginning of the week because of the rip tides…

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The cousins…

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The tides were so strong, we watched the waves erode the beach.  My niece thought it was pretty awesome…

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Lots of seashells…

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The tide making gullies in the sand…

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Cousins waiting for a hole to become a puddle!

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It was a wonderful vacation and a much-needed break from the daily grind!

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The New House

September 8, 2014 at 9:45 pm (Faith, Family, Personal, Uncategorized)

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And now on to the new house!  This has been a labor of love and a walk of faith, for sure!  We started our house hunting journey in January of this year.  After putting in a contract on one house that God thankfully prevented us from getting, we found the perfect place for us.  It has enough acreage to have horses and other farm animals, is surrounded by horses, has a play yard and a perfectly flat circular driveway tailor made for kids to play on!  So we decided to put an offer in on the house the moment we saw it, but then we learned that the owners were in bankruptcy and we would have to wait for court approval.  We put the offer in anyway and agreed with our realtor that we would continue looking.  Not long after that, we found a bank-owned property at a great price that needed significant cosmetic work.  Since hubby is very handy, it seemed like it might be a good option, but I just had a bad feeling about it.  Hubby wanted to put an offer in at about $20,000 less than it was listing for at the time.  I stayed up all night fretting and praying about it.  The next morning at church, the songs were all about waiting on the Lord and walking by faith, and I had the overwhelming feeling that God was telling me to wait on the house I really wanted.  He hadn’t answered me on that one yet.  So I called our realtor and told her I couldn’t put the offer in on the other house.  The very next day, the other house dropped below what we were planning on offering, so I knew at the very least, God had protected us from overpaying.  After much deliberation, hubby and I decided to pull the offer on the house we wanted and put in a super low offer on the bank-owned fixer upper.  We waited to hear back on that property for nearly a week.  Finally, the answer came back that our offer had been rejected.  Less than an hour and a half later, our realtor called to tell us that the house we really wanted was ready to take offers to the court.  So we put our offer back in on the house we really wanted in March.  It’s been an emotional roller coaster since then.  Had any piece of this puzzle been different, had different realtors been working this deal, this would have never happened.  God was with us every step of the way, and on July 30th, we officially bought a house that is perfect for our family!  It was such a beautiful feeling to put our wreath on the front door and our welcome sign in the yard!

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I have big plans for a gallery wall of the family pictures my awesome photographer friend took in January…and this Amazing Grace sign will feature prominently on it!  God is good!

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The library before we loaded it up with books….

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This is one of my favorite places in the house because I LOVE books!  Here are the first books to be placed on the shelves…marking this occasion…

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The play yard and pasture…

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I can’t wait to have horses roaming out there!  And here is the cowboy and son metal art piece I got for my son’s room…

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Looks just like my hubby and little!  And the kiddos on the front porch!! They absolutely love the new house.  It’s perfect for them, and that’s really why I love it…from the moment I saw it, I could see our littles playing in the driveway, learning in the playroom with the white board, swinging on the swings, and just loving this place.

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We are so grateful for the blessings God has bestowed on us, but mostly for His faithfulness to us through the whole process.  It was a lesson in patience and faith, and it was an amazing experience.  We met the most wonderful Christian realtors; we watched so many people we never knew work together to make this dream a reality; and we were blessed with prayers from friends and families throughout the process.  And one thing this long wait taught me is that there is nothing material on earth that we truly need, but God will honor His promise to give us what we ask for in faith.  May we always use this house and property to glorify His holy name!

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The Birthday

September 8, 2014 at 9:24 pm (Cakes, Family, Personal, Uncategorized)

Well, on top of life being completely insane this past month or so, my computer was also on the fritz.  So I’m just now getting to all of the things that have happened lately.  Which basically means this is going to be one big photo dump over several posts :).  I’ll start from the end of July when we celebrated my darling daughter’s 4th birthday!  We were scheduled to close on the new house on her birthday, but that ended up getting pushed back two days.  Since we had the keys and were cleaning the new house up and prepping it for inspection, we decided to meet my parents there and have a small birthday party on her birthday anyway.  So here are the pics from that….

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Marble cupcakes with chocolate frosting and sprinkles!  And then of course present time…

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And time to change into her new outfit and play outside on the play yard!

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And this is just another cake I did later that week.  First cake baked in the convection oven at the new house!!

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Beach Ready and Storytime

July 26, 2014 at 2:41 pm (Crafts, Family, Personal)

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These next few weeks are going to be beyond insane!  The appraisal on the house we’re trying to buy came back at about 5:30 last night, and we’re scheduled to close Monday.  So it’s been a mad rush of trying to pull all the last minute stuff together to make sure we close on time.  It’s hard to believe we’re finally almost there on this purchase.  It’s been nearly seven months now since we first stepped foot in the house and knew it was the one.  Once all is said and done, I will share the whole amazing story, but right now I am just praying we can get this done Monday.  Monday is also my daughter’s birthday, so that would be an exciting day to close.  But all of this is also falling right at the same time as a trip my family planned months ago to go to the beach.  So I’ve been working hard sewing beach bags for my mom, my sister, and myself…plus some sundresses and a maxi dress I cut patterns out for forever ago!  I’m loving how the beach bags turned out though.  The pattern I used is found here.  It’s super easy and really inexpensive, especially if you have a good coupon for JoAnn’s!  For three of them, I came in at just around $10 with canvas fabric to spare!

Colton Storytime

Kaitlyn Storytime

This week also brought a fun storytime at the library.  Thursday evening, the kids got to dress in their pajamas and bring a favorite toy friend to the library for a little bit of storytime, singing, dancing, and games.  It was a really cute event, and I’m so glad I was able to get home from work in time to take them!  Both were a little shy about the dancing (completely surprising for my daughter since she’s a total ham and a social butterfly most days!), but they still had a great time.

And tonight, we’re headed back to the local ballpark to catch another baseball game.  Wawa is handing out free ticket promotions, so this one won’t cost a thing :)!  I love free things!!  Have a blessed weekend!

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Weekend Cake

July 19, 2014 at 9:28 pm (Faith, Family, Personal)

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My crazy weekend is well underway!  This morning, I was blessed to give a talk on the Parable of the Prodigal Son and the Elder Brother at our monthly women’s Bible study.  It was such an amazing morning with wonderful, God-loving women!  Sometimes I feel like I have to pinch myself to really believe that God has blessed us so greatly with this church family.  In all my life, I have never met as many incredible women who have a heart for God and each other as I have met at this one church.  Feeling so very thankful right now…

Then I came home and finished up a cake for our landlords’ sweet little daughter.  She chose Pirate Fairy as her theme, and I found some awesome inspiration on Pinterest.  Above is the final results.  And now it’s off to make dinner and plan my Sunday School lesson for tomorrow.  Hope everyone is having a blessed weekend!  How about this awesome weather in July!!!!  It feels like fall here…loving it!

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