Friday, April 29, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - What I'm Being Inundated With

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This last week we have been convalescing from the Stomach Flu Epidemic of Easter 2011.  Tormentinator came down with it just before the weekend.  Middleman fell on Saturday and Nic finally succumbed on Sunday.  She didn't even get to enjoy her Easter Basket until Tuesday.  Both my hubby and felt a little unwell, but did not succumb.  As a result, I have done a lot of laundry and watched a lot of tv.  What have I actually been watching?  You would be surprised and not because I choose - politics, hockey and the Royal Wedding plans.  One of these seems to have taken over every channel we have at some time during the day.  

Canada is in the middle of a Federal Election.  Of course this has precedent on the news and other Canadian channels.  With each party's "lovely" commercials being heard every 10 minutes, you can't miss it.  Plus it has been two years since our last election.  I support the party that is now running our country in a minority parliament (do not ask me to explain this process to you, I struggle sometimes to explain it to myself).   That being said, every time I watch the news media it shocks me how slanted they are to the parties.  They don't even hide their contempt for the party now in power or our Prime Minister.  Some things the other leaders have done during this election would be called into question if the Prime Minister did the same thing.  It probably doesn't help his case that he takes very few questions from the media.  He is probably safer to do that though.   I'm hoping they win a majority this time. 

For those of you who don't follow hockey, we are now past the first rounds in the Stanley Cup series.  My team did not make the play offs, but I have had fun tormenting my sister.  My sister still cheers on the home team (Vancouver Canucks).  This team has a history of "choking" in the play offs, even though they have been one of the top teams during the regular season and should do way better than they do.  (Personal opinion!).  My sister considers me a "traitor" for not cheering on the team we grew up with.  But I do cheer the team my husband grew up with, even though they were the hated team in our home and my family still cringes at the mention of them.  This last week the team that should have advanced early, as they started the series with a 3 game lead, slowly "choked" as usual.  So I had to rub in her pain.  Unfortunately, they won game 7 to advance.  This has lead to me now making comments to her about how they can't get past the next series.  Did I tell you the communication of these conversations have been through Facebook?  As I am writing this I am thinking of all the "crow" I will be eating if they actually pull it off and win the whole thing.  However, history is on my side.

The Royal Wedding.  Need I say more.  I am intrigued.  I use to be a big royal follower.  I knew who was married to who.  What title they had.  What part of the family tree they were on.  How far they were away from the throne.  I remember watching Diana get married when I was 5.  I didn't know why they put her wedding on tv, but I remember the big dress.  I want to watch the wedding, but the time!   It is being played here at 3 am.  I don't think I have it in me to stay up that late.  The Tormentinator has been getting up pretty early lately, so maybe I'll catch it anyway. 

Here's hoping that next week TV will be better.  

Grab a coffee and come link up with the randomness this week.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday's Voice - Afghanistan

Afghan Christian remains behind bars
(Source: International Christian Concern)

An Afghan who was arrested for his conversion to Christianity remains behind bars one month after the release of Said Musa, another convert who was quietly granted asylum in Europe after an abusive nine-month imprisonment. Shoaib Assadullah, 23, was arrested on October 21 in Mazar-e-Sharif for giving a Bible to a friend. While in prison, Assadullah described being physically abused and receiving death threats from fellow prisoners. He also fears he may face the death sentence for his conversion if he is summoned back to court. While Afghanistan's constitution upholds freedom of religion, apostasy is tried under Islamic law and is punishable by death.

In a phone conversation with a friend on March 24, Assadullah said that he will not return to Islam in exchange for his freedom, but is willing to die for his Christian faith.

Please pray for the release of Shoaib Assadullah and pray for his protection while he is in prison.

Ask the Lord to take away any fear and renew his strength.

Pray the Lord will use the testimony of this faithful Christian brother to encourage the faith of secret believers throughout the country.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Perseverence

Thank you all for your uplifting and supportive comments in regards to last week's post, Motions.  I felt your prayers and love over this week, even while we suffered through the stomach flu.

Today, I finally got to participate in the Imperfect Wives chat room during their weekly Blog Talk Radio show.  With my own schedule on Tuesday's, I have struggled to take part but have listened via podcasts.   Today the ladies started a 5 week series on James.  God has been calling me to study this book over the last year and I have read it , but today it really hit me why.

..because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:3-4 NIV'84
This last New Years, I felt God telling me that "perseverance" would be my word to focus on over this year.  I thought it was just about getting through the trials I've been facing.  Something like Survivor.  If I can get through this, I win.  I was not necessarily thinking about exactly what the prize would look like.
What God was actually asking me to do was to trust Him through these times.  To trust Him completely.  To let go of trying to control everything and give Him the ability to do what only He is able to do.  Perseverance doesn't necessarily mean just survival, but to stand in the truth and grace that He gives us.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13 NIV'84
 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 NIV'84
If I can persevere and trust God through these times of trials, when they are over the blessing I will receive will be major.  It may be what I've been waiting for.  It may be great spiritual maturity.  It may just be my reward in heaven.  These trials may be for a season or a time.  They may not end until I meet my eternal Father.  But I will persevere and allow Him to complete me in His time and His way.

I'm linking up today with Jen at Finding Heaven with Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood.


I'm also going to be linking up with Word-Woman Wednesday at the House of Belonging with Tiffani.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - The True Easter Gift

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On this Good Friday, I wanted to share with you an editorial that I clipped from the paper a few years ago.  I hope you enjoy.
The gift of love

Just as with Christmas, Easter, too, becomes lost in the world's ideals of spending money to show love.  True love is a deep heartfelt matter.  It's not about money.

When my children were youngsters, I would extend both my arms straight out to my sides, reaching them as far back as they would go, saying to my children:  "I love you - this  much!"

Then, one Good Friday, I suddenly notices there was Jesus on the cross with both His arms straight out to His sides, saying to me:  "I love you - this much!"

Finally, I saw the true measure of love Jesus had for me - just as much as the measure of love I had for my children. Wow. Easter is a reflection on this overpowering gift of love.

B.J. Josdal
Saskatoon
Praying that you all feel the overpowering gift of love of Jesus this weekend.

Come link up with a great bunch of caffeinated ladies today.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gethsemane

I thought I would share this song that means so much today as it is the Passover.  It is a good reminder that Jesus struggled just as we struggle and knows what it feels like to feel alone.



My heart is overwhelmed
to the point of death
and sorrow overtakes me
and darkness looms all around
There's no light to be found

It's a long hard road
That you put me on
And I am all alone
But I choose to die
For the ones that you have given me
So not my will, but yours be done

Father if it's not possible
For this cup to be taken from me
Then will I drink it
for my live is in your hands
And u must fulfill your plan

It's a long hard road
That you put me on
And I am all alone
But I choose to die
For the ones that you have given me
So not my will, but yours be done

Not my will, but yours be done...
Monday, April 18, 2011

I don't want to go through the motions .....

Last week as I was driving I heard Motions by Matthew West.  For those who haven't heard it (you may be in a deeper pit than I am..) here is the video for the song.


The words stung as I have been going through the motions lately:  In my marriage, as a mom; in my friendships; in my spiritual life.  I have felt a little numb; a little erratic; and a lot lost.  I know I could blame this on the move and the stress of it all.  I could blame it on Middleman's recent autism diagnosis.  But I can't.  It's all me.  I have not committed ALL to God.  I haven't handed Him over the "reins" and said lead me.  I've given Him a little here, a little there.  A bit of this and a bit of that.  But not 100% all in.  

Last week well playing the Bible in 90 Days catch up (that's a whole other story), I read in Ezekiel:
My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Ezekiel 33:31 NIV'84
The whole verse is true of me.  I do listen to Him in His word.  I study His word, but do little to put them into practice.  I follow the easy way.  The way to fit into the world.  The way I'm called to very few would look at me at first glance and see that I'm different.  That I am a follower.  If I didn't talk about church, bible study or the newest christian artist, very little of me screams who I follow.

I have given Him very little of myself.  Those walls I've built around me are well built.  They may have some open doors and let you see a little of what's going on but you never see the big picture.  I'm big on showing and telling people what they want to hear.  Most people, especially Christians, don't want the messy.  They want the life we all feed each other that everything's good.  The "shiny happy people" Christianity.  I rarely even share these "messy" times with God.  

In Ezekiel 37, the prophet talks about the dry bones.  That's what I'm feeling like, dead dried bones with no life in them.  I'm crying out for life - for the breath of life that God promises.  It seems just out of my reach.  But I do hear Him calling me.  Through His music; His creation and especially through His word.  
Rend your heart  and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.  Joel 2:13 NIV'84

Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD Almighty.  Zechariah 1:3 NIV'84
How can I reach out to Him and grab on to that life changing energy.  Sharon Jaynes says it very eloquently in the book "Becoming the Woman of His Dreams" 
God gave me the power of the Holy Spirit the moment I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour and He invites me to tap into that power every day.  Some days I live on just enough of God's power every day.  Some days I feel as though I'm powered up with all circuits open.  The difference comes when I decide to plug into the power source Himself through prayer.
I am going to focus on this.  I will persevere and pray ceaselessly.  I will seek others to pray with me when I am weak.  I will lay it all down before Him and give Him all the messy - the hurt, the pain, the anguish, fears, hopes and possibilities - and trust in Him to answer in His way; to move the "mountains' that need to be moved and to fix what is broken and make the "bones" whole again.

I am linking up with a great group of sisters today at Finding Heaven hosted by the great sister Jen for Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - A Week of Random

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This week I am going to be totally random and just "spew" what ever comes to mind:

  • On Saturday we bought the little princess a new bike with NO training wheels.  This has meant that my hubby has had to teach her how to ride her bike.   It was a little touch and go at first, but within 3 days she was riding comfortably.  However, she doesn't know how to stop and she doesn't know how to get on by herself.   I think within a week she'll be off and riding on her own.  I can't believe how big she is and I'm starting to look at her and the young woman she is becoming.  

  • Middle man also got a new bike this week, thanks to Mrs. Muffin at Under Grace Over Coffee.  He was very excited about it until there were some technical issues regarding the training wheels.  It took me 25 minutes to get those things set so that (1) they were not falling off and the bike thereby falling on him and (2) that they allowed the back wheel to hit the ground and thereby not becoming a stationary bike.  I was very proud of myself once I got things settled.  Middleman doesn't have the patience to wait though and was off and running instead of biking. 
 
  • This week we were privileged to listen and watch the debates of our national leaders as Canadians are hitting the polls on May 2.  I was laughing and yelling at the radio while cooking dinner.  I had already decided that I would be voting for the Conservative party, but the comments of the other parties' leaders confirmed my vote.  Some of their ideas were support the long gun registry because it makes women safe and that all Canadians want universal daycare.  I'm so glad that as a woman and mother, they know exactly what I want.  NOT!   If my taxes are paying for daycare, yet I stay home, how is that fair.  Do I get to access this universal day care?  Would I even want to?  My friend was telling me that licensed day homes in Alberta are now banning napping in play pens because they are unsafe.  So, since Sam is still sleeping in a playpen, does that mean that I'm endangering his life?  Good grief what will they think of next?  Padded cabinets so that kids don't hit their heads on them.  Just saying.....

  • On another election tangent, for my American friends, you would never guess that they moved the french speaking debate because of a hockey game (Canada is bi-lingual).  That is how much we like our game.  No one will watch the debate if the play offs are on.  I wonder if anyone would dare to schedule a football game or baseball game the same day as the Presidential debates in 2012.  Something to ponder.  Do you think they would postpone the debate or the games?  
 
  • So last night we were hit by a skunk.  I don't know if we actually were hit by a skunk or if someone hit it by our house, but at 9:30 pm as I was washing the floor there was the most disgusting smell coming into my house.  I made the mistake of opening the back door to see what it was and was overpowered by the "beautiful" aroma that can only come from a skunk.  I was a little worried that it was locked in our backyard and how would we get it out.  This morning, thankfully, the smell was gone and there was no sign of the skunk.  I called one of the Babes, Pat, and she too was victim to the skunk.

  • This week the Tormentinator has found another battleground - the opening and closing of cupboards, drawers and the fridge.  We have a few drawers and one cupboard I don't mind him in, but the rest are off limits.  He loves the challenge and waits to pounce, as usual, until Mommy leaves the kitchen.  He seems to think of the kitchen as his playzone.  We have a family room filled with toys and both of the kids bedrooms have toys galore, but no he wants to play in the kitchen.  Maybe I'll have a budding chef in the future.  I can already see my retirement in the kitchen while I'm writing this.

Join in the total randomness fun and link up today with some great caffeinated ladies.  

PS:  I will be hosting Caffeinated Randomness on Good Friday.  I have an Easter treat for all of us. 
Friday, April 8, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - I can get by with a little help from my Babes

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I know I have told you about my Babes.  But this week I was truly blessed by them.  They came through when I was needed them.

Last weekend Nic was involved in Provincial recitals with her rhythmic gymnastics group - Saturday was workshops and practices and Sunday was the actual recital.  It was a long, busy weekend.  Throw in catching a cold and you can imagine why I crashed on the couch once all the kids were in bed on Sunday night (I did get to watch the first episode of the Borgia's, only just).  

I woke up Monday  morning, after having gone to bed at 9 pm (early for me), at 6:30 am.  Warmed up a cup of coffee (I will admit that) and sat down and watched the introduction to Esther: It's Tough to be a Woman by Beth Moore on the portable DVD player.  I will confess that I had this DVD for a week and I was cramming before Babes started that morning.  I had a lovely and blessed morning watching Beth and learning more about this study.   I made breakfast for the kids (waffles and syrup) and went and had my shower.  That was the beginning of the horrible no good hour!  

I had it in my mind to have my shower while the kids ate; then make muffins for Babes; get the boys dressed; clean up and get out the door by 9:15 am.  When I got out of the bathroom, I grabbed the face cloth to wipe down the Tormentinator's hands and face, when I realized he tried to use the syrup as hair gel!  I quickly whipped him up and put him in a bath.  While I got him bathed I told myself that I could get my "face" on and get Nicole to watch him while I quickly threw the muffins together.  I then scrambled and panicked when I I couldn't find some of the ingredients for the muffins, namely the main ingredient the bran flakes.  I finally found them after frantically tearing apart my pantry.  People started calling and BBMing me while I was trying to get this done.  Unfortunately, I think I "bit" someone's ear off of which I am truly sorry and you know who you are.  Nic wanted braids - she never wants braids - so I quickly did her hair before getting the Tormentinator out of the bath tub.  I got her out the door; Tormentinator dressed and started getting everything cleaned up and beds made.  I calmed down and let things fall into place.  I got middleman dressed and ready and  packed my bag for Babes and was ready to go.  Just as I was about to get the boys in their jackets and boots - WHERE ARE THE KEYS?!?  

I immediately thought I locked them in the van the  night before.  Now to let you know before you ask, we do not have a spare set, we lost them after Sam was born.  I called him, hoping he saw where I had put them.  It turns out he had them for some weird reason.  I was so happy at this.  At least I hadn't lost them or locked them in the van, thereby incurring fees to retrieve them or getting new ones. 

At this time, I was done.  I was happy the keys were found, but I was done.  I phoned Tracy (our week's Babes host) and asked her to get someone to pick up the snack and dvds.  Andrea came and picked them up.  She offered to drive me over, but she didn't have a baby seat.  Pat called shortly after that and asked if I wanted her to pick me up.  I told her no, I didn't have a car seat.  She had one and Tracy had one to drive me home so I had no excuse not to go.  I relented.
I was so happy I went.  I needed these sisters of mine.  I needed to be uplifted and I was welcomed with a hug by Tracy, which I so needed after all I had been through in the last hour.  Literally, how 60 minutes can change your attitude.  God knew what I needed and provided my sisters to lift me up.  Pat even presented me with a hot pick halter top, which we both think no plus sized girl should be wearing.  I wore it in the spirit it was intended, but there will be more pictures.  

I hope you all have friends like the Babes.  Sisters in the word.  Friends who lift you up.  I'm starting to miss them and I haven't even moved yet.  What will I do after the move?  I'll have to find some new sisters, but they won't be the Babes.

Come and link up today with your randomness. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

3 in 30 - April Week 2 Check In

Goals:

1. Work on my schedule
2. Drink more water
3. Exercise 5 x a week
4. Finish B90 Challenge

Didn't Meatloaf sing 2 out of 4 Ain't Bad.  I have worked on the first two of my goals this week, but haven't done so well on the last two.

I have been trying to organize my schedule to fit in some time to clean the house, spend time with the kids, and get on the computer.  I have been trying to get in the habit of getting the house cleaned by 10 every morning.  Some times this has worked and other days I  have had to do my cleaning just before cooking dinner.  I managed to get on the computer a couple of times during the week and got to read some blogs and even had time to type out a blog during the day.  I'm going write my schdule down and commit to it, I think this may help me in prioritizing what needs to be done.

I have been drinking more water this week, some days more than others.  I have tried to drink at least 1L a day.  As my glasses are a little more than 1/2 L I have been successful at this.  I have only drank pop a few times this week.  I've also taken up drinking flavoured tea by Tetley Tea.  I am really enjoying Soothe and Mojitio.  It's a nice way to keep hydrated and warm all at the same time.

I got on the treadmill once this week and haven't been on since.  I am hoping to jump back on tomorrow.  I have, however, been walking more around town to meetings or to the library or store.  I hope that counts for something.

I haven't read any of my Bible this week.  I have gotten back to praying first thing in the morning and have been so blessed by this time with God.  I'm hoping to spend some time this weekend reading through a few books and working through the plan.  The goal is to finish by the end of the month and I know I can do that.

Overall, I'm  not entirely happy with what I accomplished this week.  But neither am I feeling defeated.




Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday's Voice - China

House Church Raided by Police in China
(Source: ChinaAid Association)

Chinese authorities recently raided a home in Shaanxi Province where believers were gathered for Sunday worship. On March 13, a dozen Christians were attending a house-church service in the village of Ma'an when the local police chief and two other officers barged into the building. The officers confiscated Bibles and other Christian literature. They also took all of the believers into police custody. Ten of the Christians were released that same evening. At last report, however, two believers--Weng and Zhang Yongkuan--remain detained.

Pray for the release of the two detained Christians.

Pray that believers in the village will not lose heart but will trust the Lord in all things.

Pray for wisdom for area church leaders in the midst of opposition.

Pray that authorities in China will truly respect the religious freedom of all citizens.
Monday, April 4, 2011

Sin: The Missing Link

On Sunday I was driving home after a particularly long weekend of gymnastics provincials (as well as suffering from the beginning of a cold), when In Christ Alone came on the radio covered by Owl City.  I have only ever caught the end of this version and I was excited as this is one of my favourite hymns.  After listening to the 1st verse I started singing the second verse only to realize that he skipped it.  I was shocked.  I was confused.  I was hurt. I was angry.

Here are the verses as originally written and intended by Stuart Townsend and Keith Getty:

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt of life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand
 
How can Jesus rise without His death?  How can sin's curse lose it's grip without every sin being laid on Him?  Why aren't we rejoicing in it?  Why are we whitewashing it?  Since I have become a Christian the one thing that I have noticed is that the acknowledgment of sin, and that we are sinful, has become less and less talked about.  We all supposedly acknowledge it.  We all supposedly believe it.  So why don't we talk about it?  Why don't we talk about why Jesus died - really died?  Most of us can spout off John 3:16 and we all believe it.  He did die because we were so loved.  But why?  Why did he have to die?  Why did we lose relationship with God that He had to sacrifice His son for us?  One word - SIN.

Genesis 3 explains the fall of man and woman to sin and the promise of Jesus (v15b).  Because Adam and Eve, both, failed to listen and obey God's command, they were separated from a direct relationship with God.  We too believe the lies that Satan wants us to believe because it is hard to believe the simple truth some times.  We too are sinners and we spend time trying to fill up the holes in our life with other idols (food, alcohol, drugs, etc..).     The Old Testament and the history of the Isrealites show us what happens when we embrace God and what happens when we turn from Him.  When they followed God's commands they were blessed.  When they did not, they suffered the consequences for their actions, just as we do.  

Sin permeates within each of us.  We have the free choice to chose to ignore God or to obey.  Sometimes these decisions are daily.  Sometimes they come up in a conversation or a decision that has to be made.  They are sometimes quite easy to make.  Sometimes it may be a life struggle.  But we are still free to chose between the sin or in following God.  I think of Psalm 23 in these terms sometimes.  If I preserve through the valleys of shadow and obey Him, the gift for obeying is always so much more then what I anticipated. 

As Christians we all have a decision to make.  We can acknowledge sin or we can white wash it and tell ourselves that God loves is all we need.  But John the Baptist said it best - "Repent, for the kingdom of the heaven is near."(Mt 3:2)  It is near.  Can you feel?  In this season of Lent it is what we should focus on for how can we stand with Christ if we can't acknowledge the reason He came in the first place. 

I'm participating in Jen's amazing meme the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood today, come join us.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - The End of March Birthday Madness

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The NCAA may have March Madness, but I always have March Birthday Madness.  Mid March is the Tormentinator's birthday and the end of March is the Middleman's birthday.  We had his friend birthday party last Friday at our local Children's Museum.  He enjoys it as there are so many different stations for him to do and discover.  He loves the camping area as he pretends he's roasting marshmallows over the fake little fire.

I made an ice cream cake for his birthday.  It consisted of almost of litre of whipped cream and ice cream sandwiches.  You start with a layer of ice cream sandwiches in a loaf pan (cut to fit) and then layer with whipped cream. Repeat.  I think though that next time I would use Cool Whip as it freezes smoother.  Although being able to put whipped cream in my coffee all weekend was very decadent.

The middle man received some very cool presents from his friends - Pig goes Pop, Pop goes Froggio, a Alphabet Floor Puzzle, Transformers and an Optimus Prime costume.  He loves his new Optimus Prime costume so much that he put it on Friday evening and ran around the house in it.  He went to bed in it and ......


Optimus Prime and Mr. Murphy sleeping
So ends our March Madness.  Soon enough there will be the end of May birthday week and then the June family reunion/princess birthday month.  Time enough to work myself down from all the birthday cake this month.

Come link in and join us for Caffeinated Randomness this week.

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Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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