Meet me Here, Lord

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Do you know when you hear a certain phrase over and over? It is on repeat in your mind. You hear it on the radio, you read it in books, you see it in the newspaper. I feel like sometimes I am not paying attention and the Holy Spirit is like “AMY! HELLO? CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?” And on rare occasions, haha, I hear it quickly yet more often it takes a few times for me to say, “duh! I hear you God”.

This weekend, while watching a sermon on the computer, the pastor spoke about having the Best Year yet. I loved how she said, in order to have the best year, we need to keep getting better. We aren’t going to wake up tomorrow and have it all together right? We may like that but its not practical because there isn’t much in life that we don’t need to work at or practice to become better. Even the most skilled folks need to practice. You know that old saying, Use it or Lose it. It is so true.

Then one of my very best friends, soul sisters, shared with me that she felt the Word of God was like a muscle that needs to be used or we lose it. It is active and real and if we are not in the Word, how do we expect to hear Gods whispers? And sometimes for me, God may be using one of those huge megaphones. Sometimes we need to just be quiet and listen. When my friend and I were talking, we both felt in agreement that if we are not meditating on Gods word and the things that He is telling us, it is far too easy to forget those lessons.

See God rescues us and molds us and uses us but we have to believe and we have to be in communication with Him or else we may miss the mark.

Some days are harder and we are stumbling over ourselves and tripping through life. But God is always there to reach out a hand and help us up because He is such a loving God. He doesn’t want us to go through it alone. As I sit here and type, its raining outside and what a beautiful sound! As the rain pours down onto the garden, I am reminded of that word, “pour”… because I have felt a nudge this week from the Holy Spirit to remind myself that God is pouring His grace on us all the time and we are not alone. We need to get out there and out of our comfort zone and see what God has in store for us. He does not call us to a place…. He calls us to follow His word and His purpose for our lives. He will not leave us and He wont make us go through it by ourselves but He wants us to get out there and start living the life he has given us unafraid and willing to take a chance for Him because He took the ultimate chance for us.

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So my beautiful friend, if you are reading this, will you delight in your heart that you are not alone. You don’t have to run after anyone other than running towards our Good Lord. Let Him rescue you from whatever is burdened on your heart. He does not want you to grieve by yourself. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, sick or healthy, rested or frustrated, suffering or in a season on the mountain top, because God is our Amazing Grace. We can praise Him through all things because we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Jeremiah 29:11).

Ask God to meet you where you are… no matter where that may be… and ask him to cleanse your heart from any burdens you are carrying and do not be afraid to share them with Him because His Word tells us that He is our Rock and our Rescuer. We can be free from sin forever because of Christ.

Blessings my friend,

Take heart in the beauty of our God.

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Free at last…

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, some fifty five years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., stood and spoke one of the most influential speeches to date. “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty, we are free at last”.

It is a funny coincidence when something comes up in our homeschooling that my Bible Study has me learning about as well. Freedom is a unique word. A lot of times we know we are free, yet we live as if we are still chained to the floor with shackles. We live in constant fear or panic and our hearts are always in a state of worry. And for what? Worrying doesn’t solve one thing. In fact, Christ tells us to give all our burdens to Him.

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Galatians clearly tells us in chapter 5, verse 1 that Christ has set us free. Dr. King fought so hard for freedom for everyone, not just select few, not just for his family, but for everyone. He had a passion that was evident when you read or listen to his iconic, I have a Dream speech. It brings chills to your backbone, to think that sadly some still live in that state of segregation and pain. I always remember that childhood song that said, Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Jesus doesn’t look at us and see the color of our skin. He sees the quality of our heart, the words that we speak, the thoughts that we think, the actions that we do (or sometimes the ones we don’t do).

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Amen to this quote above. In the end, we are all going to the same Heaven if we have accepted Christ as our Savior. There is not going to be an African section, an English section, an Australian section or even a Vietnamese section. We are all going to praising God in the same church pews, and on the same gold lined streets.

Be proud of your differences. Be proud of the things that make you uniquely YOU! Meryl Streep once said, “The things that make us different or weird, are our strengths”. How very true. I don’t have to be like you and you don’t have to be like me. We can  have differing opinions, and we can still love each other. I think we need to make a stand as children of Christ and empower and encourage each other. We need to not live in fear or constant worry of the past that doesn’t define our future or of the future that is not yet written. Our scars need to be celebrated because it tells our story. We may be bruised from our past but we can celebrate our future. We have a choice and we need to take a stand today. Take a stand for our children. Take a stand for our future. Take a stand to stand tall even if we are battered and bruised. Take a stand and get back up.

We need to drown out the negativity and be brave enough to stand tall in our quirks and differences. We can march to the beat of our own drum and still stand together holding hands as Dr. King envisioned no matter our race, our beliefs, our language, our bruises, our scars.

Will you stand with me today?
Will you take a stand for yourself and celebrate our differences?

Let us find freedom together.

Look out world, because here we come.

 

Grace in the midst of Mess

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In the middle of your mess,
God is busy writing your message.

Time moves on whether we like it or not. Look at any clock and the hand is ticking by so fast. When the New Year arrived, I knew in my heart that something needed to change and that I needed to get back to some of the things I used to love doing in order to continue transforming myself into who God intends me to be.

2017 was a big year.

I turned 30!
I got rid of those pesky wisdom teeth!
I homeschooled my son!
I got in touch with my inner artist!
I lost 50+ pounds!

2017 was also filled with so many messes and clutter that I had to sweep out.

It was hard.
There were many tears shed.
I said goodbye to a lot of people, bad habits, expectations and failed attempts.

However, no matter how messy my life just happened to become, I knew God had my back. Not every day was peachy, but there was definitely joy in every day. I don’t believe that God intended us to walk around with a fake plastered smile all the time. He does intend for us to live full of joy even in the midst of sorrow. You know a lot of times we get ourselves into theses messes and expect God is just going to pluck us out of the middle of this crazy, messed up mix of life that we find ourselves in and I think that sometimes He must sit in his throne and just say, “My child, You made your bed” but He is a God of pure love and grace. It doesn’t mean we wont get disciplined or we wont weather any storms. It just means that we always have a shoulder to cry on, and we can always trust that no matter how deep of a mess we dive into headfirst sometimes, He is always there to pull us back to the surface.

See the grace of God is a gift that is undeserved and yet never runs out. Grace has nothing to do with us and so much to do with what an amazing Creator we have. God doesn’t just give us a second chance, he gives us a third, and a fifth and a tenth because let me tell you, sometimes WE NEED IT! I know I sure do.

This year, my word of 2018 is “Shifting Balance” because I want God to keep me grounded when the world shifts. It isn’t a matter of IF the world will shift, its a matter of when because God promises us that we will have trials and that sometimes the more we are doing what we are supposed to, The enemy is sneaking around ready to attack because he wants to see us fumble in the dark in our mess. The enemy is cunning but we need not be afraid because God will hold us and stand above any mess that we could ever create. He tells us that we can move the mountain ahead of us with the faith of a mustard seed.

Anne Lamott once said, “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace, only that it meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us.” How beautiful! What an amazing thought that yes we may be dirty and dark and down in the well but Gods grace lights up that darkness and shines the light where it needs to expose things in order for us to recover completely and to be saved by grace. See grace is a gift that nobody deserves but everybody can have just by simply asking Christ to come into your heart. And it isn’t a one stop shop where you will never need to ask again. I think the true meaning of being a Christian is realizing that in order to have a true relationship with Christ amidst the mess of life is that we need to be asking for Gods grace to cover us each and every day and spending time with Him in the word. His word is alive and it brings joy, true joy, to our soul. It gives you a pair of rose colored glasses to view life through… so that things don’t seem quite as dark when we are standing in the middle of our messy lives.

Step into the light of Grace…

Encourage, Empower, Enlighten
Blessings,

Amy

Changing my mindset

Sometimes, we need to change the way we think because if we keep on doing and thinking the same way, how is anything supposed to ever change?

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ‭‭[Romans‬ ‭8:37-39‬]:

In the past, I have allowed myself to get into a bitter mindset when it came to my infertility journey. I tried, I lost, I tried again, I lost another, I tried yet again, I lost yet again. You see the cycle was not becoming something I enjoyed enduring. I got the distant “I’m sorry’s” and the “Again?” and the best one, “You really shouldn’t try again”. And I would get that into my head and wonder, ‘should I really never try again?’ ‘Why do all these other people get more than one baby?’ However, that’s a dangerous place to be living in the land of why’s and what if’s and how come’s. That land is no mans land and sometimes its hard to return from that destination.

And as horrid of a place that was to be, I kept finding myself creeping there in the depths of my heart after each loss. Each time, I pulled myself out because I didn’t want to be there feeling that way. I like being optimistic and life full of rainbows and happiness but I admit there have been times, when the rainbows felt like they were never coming and the happiness was just a façade for the world.

Once I returned from that ugly trip for good, I decided enough was enough and I would give myself time to sort out my feelings. I would be happy when someone was pregnant and expecting and I would truly get excited to share in their successes and joys and not ever return to that fretful place in my heart ever again. Because hope is a magical thing that leads us to the land of rainbows and glass half full kind of outlook on life. Hope gives us back what was taken away when we were in despair.

So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfilment. Rom 8:25   Richard Rohr writes, “IF YOU ARE NOT trained in how to hold anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait—you will run—or more likely you will “explain.” Not necessarily a true explanation, but any explanation is better than scary liminal space. Anything to flee from this terrible “cloud of unknowing.”  CLICK THE IMAGE TO KEEP READING:

With true joy, my heart began to heal from all the things I had been through. I returned home and went on an amazing vacation to my favorite happy place, Disney World, which always just puts me in a good mood. I came back from that trip with a renewed sense of hope and faith in my Creator. It is far too easy to book a one way ticket to No Mans Land and have bitterness and ugly build up in your heart. I made a conscious effort to never go there again.

I started searching for verses and talking to the Lord each morning and the more I talk to Him, the more I talked and listened, the more I heard. Something changed in my heart and I started not only just talking with Him, but I found myself having meaningful prayers with God like never before. Its vulnerable telling others about things that trouble us but I felt a sense of need to share my stories with the world in this way. I have been a believer since I was a little girl, baptized since I was a teenager and have always tried hard to study and learn as much as I can, but for the first time in my life, I feel a yearning and a sense of peace talking with God and I am glad I found this place of contentment.

During one of my studies, I have been reading and writing out Romans 8. There are so many treasures tucked inside these verses that I have read before yet never truly “heard”.

This week, if you have a difficult conversation coming up, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with his power. If you have a lot to do or if there's something that makes you anxious or stressed, pray, "Holy Spirit, fill me with your power." #UnstoppableGod: See the Bible tells us that we are not set aside. God is with us all the time. He has not forgotten or will never forget us, especially when we are in need. But this verse, Romans 8:26, goes a step further to tell us that not only is God never going to leave me or you but the holy Spirit PLEADS for us and PRAYS for us when we don’t know what to pray. I always would sit back and look at others when they were praying and say, “Wow, Lord,  THEY SURE KNOW HOW TO PRAY”. But all the while, when I couldn’t the right words, The Holy Spirit was finding the words for me and praying them for me in a way that words cannot express.

I will take it even one step further… a few verses down in this same chapter…. it tells us that Not only is God for us, not only is the Holy Spirit pleading for us, but Christ sitting at Gods right hand is praying for us as well. Jesus Christ is taking the time to PRAY FOR YOU and for ME. Take a moment and think about that.

Romans 8:28 God works all things for good:

God has not forgotten me. God has set me apart for a reason. Gods reasoning is far better than my own. And Romans 8:28 tells us that we should KNOW that ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him. You see, I may have lost babies and pregnancies but all the while, God is working something magical and It is not my time yet.

Maybe its your time right now. Maybe its your best friends time. Maybe just maybe my time is coming very soon, but I know that no matter when or if it may come, God has a plan and a purpose for me and for your life that we cannot see right now.

As I write this morning, Hurricane Matthew is approaching the Bahamas. He is a big one. But my God is bigger. Matthew is strong, yet my God is stronger. Matthew is unpredictable yet my God knows all. I pray for the families that have lost their loved ones in this massive storm. I pray for the islands and the land and the earth that Matthew will affect over the next few days. I pray he continues to weaken and to pick up speed and go out to sea where he would not be a bother to any lives. In all this we pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Scripture memorization:

Peace be with you. Peace be with my Bahamaland as we get hit with this storm. And as I travel the uncharted waters of my infertility journey, I pray that these verses will comfort you in whatever deep waters you are facing in  your life too.

 

 

 

 

 

Meal Planning 21 Day Fix Style

Monday, Here I come!

I am starting a challenge with my beachbody coach on Monday. For the past six weeks, I can honestly say I have been mindfully trying to eat clean and exercise. I am ten lbs down and countless inches! (Over 15!!!) I love challenges because they give you something to focus on. Each Thursday, a few friends of mines meet at  my house for a weigh in meeting and we are all doing different programs and seeing different results.

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It comes a moment when you just are feeling so great that you do not want the things you used to crave. I actually do not “CRAVE” anything anymore. I am never hungry and yet never stuff myself full.

Today was planning day. It has to  be one day of the week that we spend to plan our week upcoming and grocery shop and what not.

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First I pulled out my trusty grocery list and made a list from my recipe books and what was already in my pantry. I cannot tell you how IMPORTANT THIS IS! I have been so many times and ended up buying something (or not buying something) because I thought I had it or not.

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Here is what my 21 day fix splurge at the store looks like!

I have my fresh fruit and veggies, Feta Cheese, Egg whites, Oats, Whole wheat crackers, pumpkin spice (YAY), Chobani Greek Yogurts, and Brown Rice to spice up.

The New items I am trying is the Village Harvest Quinoa and the Enjoy Life Pizza Crust made with Ancient Grains. I will post next week after we use them.

Happy “Fixing” !!!!!

 

Waiting…

Waiting; described in Merriam Webster dictionary as

  •  to stay in a place until an expected event happens, until someone arrives, until it is your turn to do something, etc.
  •  to not do something until something else happens

  •  to remain in a state in which you expect or hope that something will happen soon

 

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James 5:7 tells us, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain”.

Is it just me or does everyone find it hard in the time of waiting?

I really love how one of the definitions was to not do something while we wait for something to happen. When I think of not doing something, I think of being still and perfectly at peace doing nothing, not a lazy type of nothing just a serene type of nothing. But it also is difficult to just sit around all full of peace and serenity while we want things to be happening. Right?

Then we think of what James writes in the Bible, ‘waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain’. We are to think like a farmer waiting for the precious fruit that he has worked over. My Dad is a farmer and I watch him with grace tend to his trees as if they are his children with patience and love. I think it is why he grows so many different amazing things. His trees never for an instant doubt that he is going to water them or not prune them when they get too bushy.

Jesus is said to be our gardener and our farmer. Sometimes we are in the grove of our lives just waiting to be watered and pruned as the weeds grow up around us. However, if we do not practice patience, we may wither just as the tree would if not tended to properly.

Sometimes in these seasons of waiting, we look around and we let envy creep into our hearts and we need to weed that out right away or it can choke us like a weed chokes a vine in the garden. Envy can fester inside our hearts and just look ugly.

I don’t know about you, but I know I do not want an ugly heart filled with envy and weeds growing up around me choking the joy and life out of my body.

There has been much on my heart lately in this time of wait. I have to embrace this time and spend more time with God watering me with his words and filling me with his presence so that the time passes without worry and envy.

There is a time for everything and God is good ALL THE TIME.

Are you in a time of waiting as well?

Are you looking at others lives and thinking, Why not me? or Why me? Let us weed our hearts today to make sure that we are truly living a life of joy and peace in our time of wait.

God already has a plan for you and for me and it is in these moments, he wants us to turn to Him and to rest in the assured faith that He is with us.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible says,

“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven

Ecclesiastes 3:1

This may be my season of waiting.

I embrace it and give it all to God.

Thrown into the Rabbit Hole…

The gallery for --> Alice In Wonderland Disney Falling Down The Rabbit Hole:

Down, down, down.

I cannot even believe how long it has been since I have sat here and typed, and how easy it is to stray away from the things we love the most for the sake of busyness.

The world is odd in that way. The busier our lives seem to get, the more stressed we feel, the more unhealthy we get, and then one day we wake up feeling like we have been thrown down the rabbit hole without a guide.

Strange comparison, I know, however, that’s exactly how I felt. Last September, My son and I started homeschooling again. Come November, I was offered a plea to go back to teaching full time because the school had lost their third grade teacher. If you know me, you would know its very hard to say no (although I am working on this) and I pondered and pondered over this decision for weeks until we finally just said, “YES”. In January, I had to bring 18 really wonderful students back up from where their previous teacher had led them astray academically and emotionally. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this challenge, but by June, I was faced with the same decision as the previous year. Should I stay? or Should I go? I didn’t know whether it was because I had been given the extra chance to try it out or just because my heart is in homeschooling despite the opinion of just near everyone I know. I bit the bullet and wrote my resignation letter, again.

It was not easy as I do not like disappointing people but in the end if I had taken on another year, I would have only been disappointing the children because my heart was not there and that’s not fair. One day, I know I will return to teaching in a school setting but for now, there are many adventures that await.

These adventures have already begun as I have the time to sit and write again, time for afternoon tea, a tradition that I truly love, and time for my health which is by far the most important.

We just came back from an amazing Disney trip and I have to say it was the best yet.

My little guy will be turning 8, yes you read that right, EIGHT years old in five days! Where has the time gone? He is bubbly and creative and imaginative and filled with laughter and jokes and apparently he and his uncle are a part of the “Jocker’s Club” which makes me smile for days thinking about the time they got to spend together. It was way overdue.

I feel like me again.

I feel like I am no longer falling down through the rabbit hole, but have now reached the point where I am about to open the door with hidden surprises behind it.

“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.”  ― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass:

The adventures that lie behind the door are a mystery but I have never been more excited for what God has in store for our lives. It is never a dull moment and I love that I will have the time to explore these adventures to their fullest potential.

In a few weeks, we start THIRD GRADE together we couldn’t be more thrilled.

Renewed Passion

After a very long break from taking photos, I have renewed my passion for a long lasting hobby of mines. I had the opportunity to take some photos of a very good friend this past week. I love natural light photography sessions and this was no exception; The light was perfect for photos and thanks to my lovely assistant who manned the reflector, we got some awesome shots.

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Beautiful Alanna

Considering we were in Abaco, I felt like these images transported us to an Irish garden or something! They were so much fun to edit because they needed hardly no editing.

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And then after the garden scene, we headed over to find some beautiful waves for the background.

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And finally after we found some awesome spots, we went on a search for some outdoor flowers.

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Blessings,

Amy

Time to hit the books…

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The magic of new beginnings is a time when we say goodbye to something and say hello to a different something.

In June, I finished my very first year of teaching in a large setting out of the house. As much as my heart loved the children, the people and the experiences, my heart felt as if it were missing something important. There was a puzzle piece missing from my life and I knew when I decided to homeschool again, that homeschooling would be my missing piece. Over the past ten weeks of Summer, I have dedicated my life to getting healthier and growing closer to my family and to God.

I happily feel more like myself and feel more confident to start a new beginning. I have lost weight and gained a greater sense of self while walking the journey God intended for me. From the moment I had our son, I knew I wanted to be a major part of his life. I knew I wanted to spend time with him and frankly a few hours at the end of the day is just not enough. These years go by so quickly, and this time I get with him and time I get to be home with my family being the home-maker are far too precious to let slip away.

This journey that God has led me to may not be for everyone. But it is my journey and my family’s journey to walk alongside the Lord we serve and love.

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This is one of my all time favorite reasons for homeschooling. God gave  us his commands that we should teach our children when we walk our journey each day, when we lie down and when we rise up. So I am rising up into this role that God has led my heart to have passion for and serve him throughout the ministry of being a devoted wife to my husband helping with my fair share of the house duties and being a caring and loving mommy to our son teaching him how to be a responsible and loving adult one day.

Tomorrow we get to start our adventure through Sonlights Core B&C as we head through the history of the world and soar through the pages of classic literature and take nature walks. The possibilities are endless because we can do whatever we set our mind to accomplish each day.

I cannot believe our son is starting Second Grade and God has blessed this family with what we need to enrich all of our lives and hearts as we grow closer and steer the boat of our life on the path straight to God.

Many blessings to each of you,

Amy

Golden Opportunities

I just cannot believe it has been over three months since I last sat and wrote here on my global journal. Ha! The past few months have been filled with many moments; some great, some not so great and some smack dab in the middle.

I have been on a prayer journey, trying to find a closeness with the Lord and cultivating it daily not only on an individual level but in our marriage as well. I have included my students in my prayer journey and we pray often in class now, out loud for the Lord to hear our voices.

This past month has been chocked full of new events. My new church family has embraced and welcomed me with open arms and I feel a peace about that move. I even have enjoyed the fabulous company of my husband at church, which is a welcomed surprise. I just know its due to focusing our marriage and our life on Christ even more so than ever before.

I attended my very first Easter sunrise service at 6:30a.m. on Easter morning to celebrate Christ rising from the grave and to remember the grace that he so graciously showed us. I recently read that we should always remember GRACE as:

GODS
RICHES
AT
CHRISTS
EXPENSE

I really loved that acronym for such a powerful message. Simple, yet effective.

I also attended my very first Ladies Conference and met one of the most amazing women ever. The speakers testimony touched my heart and her thoughts throughout the conference have dug deep into my soul.

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This was our verse for the weekend. I even taught it to my nineteen first graders because I loved it so much. Every time I have started to say something, this verse pops into my head and I ask myself, Is this something I need to say? Maybe I should just listen. Maybe I should just wait right now.

The speakers husband has been preaching at the church throughout their time here as well. I have thoroughly enjoyed his sermons. But my favorite moment was when he spoke of golden opportunities. These moments in our lives that are intertwined with Gods plan and when they pass, sometimes they may never come again.

We recently made a decision to go back to homeschooling next year. I don’t doubt that I love teaching and love being able to touch the lives of children in the classroom setting. However, I have one little life whom God has blessed me with and the time spent with him is more precious than anything. It is making a sacrifice and knowing that this is my golden opportunity. I can always go back to teaching in a bigger setting in the future, but I will only have these years when my baby is young, once. They will not come around again. I have to reach out and grab this opportunity, this moment while I have the chance. Otherwise, just as the wind passes by, time will fly and this too will just be a fleeting memory.

When the speaker said this, it grabbed deep into my heart and tugged on the deepest part of my soul. I knew in that moment God was telling me, “Daughter, my child, You are taking your golden opportunity and I am proud of you.”

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These are the moments when my family will be cultivating roots for the day when we let him spread his wings and fly. Wyatt and I have had the best experience going out to school this year, and I having the blessing of teaching him in a school setting as well, but I could not be more thrilled to be coming back home this Fall, and diving into the literature that we have awaiting us. I even want to do a little home project to build a library into my spare bedroom because we have so many books and have such a love of books that I think it shall be our summer project.

I have loved every moment of getting to know my new friends, and I look forward to corresponding and keeping in touch with them and hearing about their lives and praying for these two awesome and amazing children of God. I find it so amazing when the Lord brings people into our lives at the exact opportune moment when we need them the most.

Praise be the Lord,

Blessings,

Amy