Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekend Gratitude is Getting to Be a Habit!

Dear friends,

I didn’t know when I wrote my first “Weekend Gratitude” post that I was starting a series! Here we go for round five! It’s been an interesting weekend – the kind where happy little surprises greeted me around each corner. And I know I’m going to have a fabulous weekend next weekend visiting family in Maryland, so I’ll continue at least that long. Meanwhile, how about you? What makes you grateful right now? Leave a comment!

Saturday morning I just couldn’t seem to get out of bed. So sleepy! So I am grateful for a chance to sleep in, which I rarely do. As soon as I acclimated to morning, I headed to the computer to work on lesson planning for our next unit study on the Civil War. Even though we aren’t scheduled to “do school” this week, I am trying to get a jump on it since I will be out of town for a few days. It’s amazing how fast a Monday morning can sneak up on me. I am grateful that I can still home school my kids, even after nearly 20 years of it. I am always having to try something fresh or tweak my system. This week, our tweak was to spend less time on literature and history in the morning, in favor of math, writing and science. We were somewhat more productive, but I think more tweaking is in order… I am grateful that I’m not locked into a system. I have the freedom to use my creativity and experience to optimize my kids’ education through home schooling, or, as in the case of my 16 year old daughter, to use public school when that fits the need best.

After lunch, I took the three youngest children out on errands. Our first stop was Brightlight Books to pick up a copy of a literature book which my daughter Lydia needs for her AP English class. I am grateful that they had this obscure book, which is currently in very high demand by local high school students, in stock for only $4 (when they didn’t have it a few days before) and that I had store credit available to pay for it! I also noticed that they are selling Brightlight “food for your brain” T-shirts. Very tempting! (Note: I went back and bought one a few days later!) Next up, the discount bread store where we bought about 16 packages (mostly premium whole wheat bread, but also bagels, English muffins, flat breads, etc.) for only $1 each. Oh, and a box of donuts for Sunday morning. Yum. I am grateful for thrifty places to buy food (for the stomach and for the brain) for our very large family!

We also stopped by a new store labeled “Discount Club” which was full of stuff like fancy electronics, designer jewelry and perfumes that I didn’t want to buy. As soon as I spotted a rack of vulgar T-shirts in full view of my children, I took the kiddos firmly by the hand and walked out. Blech! Good thing the store is a temporary one renting a spot in the shopping center. It should be gone in 5 weeks. Good riddance! I guess I would have to say I am grateful for common sense and discernment to skip the junk and go for the good stuff ("Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8).

Our final stop for the afternoon was Walmart, for one of our weekly grocery runs. (I also go to Aldi at least once a week, and Sam’s Club every other week. We eat a lot.) By the time we got out of there, two of the kids were getting punchy and I was quite crabby. My whole brain was getting foggy. I became very grateful for my bed again. Nap! Restored sanity is a very good thing. Grouchy PMS mommy is not. At Walmart, we bought a new keyboard for our main computer since my attempts to clean lemonade out of our old one the night before was not completely successful. The real problem with the computer, though, was probably caused by Internet Explorer, which kept either freezing, letting me type only one key every few seconds, or popping us out of programs every few seconds. We switched to Google Chrome for our browser. So far so good. I am grateful that my father taught me to be computer literate over 30 years ago when I was a teenager. (It paid my way through college.) I’m still not a major techno whiz, but I don’t tend to get intimidated by computers, and I can usually do at least a few things to alleviate our woes.

On Saturday evening, my husband and I used an Outback Steak House gift card that we had received to go out for a belated Valentine dinner. Scrumptious!  I am definitely grateful for seasoned steak and garlic mashed potatoes, and even for fresh vegetables. While we were waiting to be seated at a table, he noticed an older couple hobble in. He immediately jumped up from the bench to give them room to sit down. I really admire that about him, and I'm grateful to have a husband who is a gentleman. I hadn’t been paying attention. We had a very fruitful conversation at dinner, and then on the way out, we stopped to talk to our friend Amy who was eating with her daughters.

While we were driving home, we remembered that two of our boys needed new pants to wear to church. We decided to stop by Walmart to look for some and to buy some ice cream to take home to the kids. (Much more cost effective than buying dessert at Outback, I must say! Makes the kids happy, too! They really liked the blueberry-pomegranate flavor. Who knew you could get it in a store brand?) We were standing in the boys’ clothing section debating about whether to get husky or regular size, when a lady came bounding over, squealing with delight. It was a lady who had worked for my husband when he was the facility manager many many years ago. Looking at me for permission, she said, “I just have to give him a hug! Such a good man!” That was fine with me! We all had a really nice chat. I remember visiting her family at their apartment many years ago at Thanksgiving time and that her husband had died the following year. This lady had also befriended my mother-in-law the year she got sick and passed away. It is good to reconnect after so many years. The funny thing is that while we were walking in to the store, I had a feeling we would run into someone we hadn't seen in a really long time. Whenever I am in a place that I hadn’t planned to be, I get the sneaking suspicion that I am there for a larger serendipitous reason. I mused to my husband that because we stopped to talk to Amy at Outback, we were in the right place at the right time to run into his former co-worker. So I am grateful for “divine coincidences” and old friends.

This morning (Sunday) I decided to look up the Bible passage that pastor Dave Abney would be preaching about today. Jonah 2:8 popped out at me: “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs." Even if it’s difficult, it’s not a horrible thing to lay down a habit, possession, or belief that is only dragging you down or damaging your soul. If it’s a false substitute for true satisfaction, you’re only doing yourself a favor if you turn away from it to walk in God’s grace. True? I am grateful for the Scriptures that bring wisdom to life.

This morning we also officially joined Lake Baldwin Church, so I am a Presbyterian again after 31 years away. When we were chatting with our senior pastor Mike Tilley after the service, I was telling him about the Presbyterian church I attended as a teenager near Baltimore, and about my friend Anne who had invited me there when I was in 8th grade. When I mentioned that Anne now goes to a multi-cultural, justice-minded PCA church in inner city Baltimore, Mike suggested that I go meet the young man who had played the keyboard during worship. Calvin’s father is the pastor of a church in Baltimore that fits that description, and I strongly suspect it is the same one since I noticed that Anne and Calvin’s mother Maria are friends on Facebook.  In fact, Calvin just e-mailed and says he does know Anne a little, and her father even better.  He also sent a link for his mother's book, A Thousand Resurrections, which is about urban ministry. I got tears in my eyes just reading a few pages of the preview on-line.  So another serendipitous coincidence in meeting Calvin! Sweet! I am grateful for all of the interconnections in my life. And I am SO grateful to Anne’s family for reaching out to me and picking me up for church every week for two years. That made such a huge difference to me!  I am grateful that Timonium Presbyterian gave me a rock solid foundation of Bible, evangelism, and world missions, and I can’t even imagine what my life would be without that!

After lunch, my husband and I headed over to our former church, Metro Life, to record a two minute audio tribute to our daughter Joanna for her graduation from The Regent Academy home school program this June.  This is one of the photos in the slideshow that will accompany the recording. We are grateful to have such a sweet daughter who has a contagious smile, creative gifts, and a big heart for multi-cultural ministry. I can’t wait to give her a big hug when she and Rachel return from Italy in May! And I’m grateful that they got to drive up along the French coast to Monaco on Friday with the Walti family, and that they will start teaching English on Tuesday in Chiavari, Italy. I love that my girls can go have a Grand Adventure and I can’t wait to see their new pictures when they post them at

And now I am sitting her blogging about gratitude, and my heart is filled with thanksgiving for those who take the time to read about “Virginia’s Life, Such As It Is.

Thank you! And I would love to hear from you!

Virginia Knowles

P.S. I leave you with the song “I Need You” by Josh Bales, our worship leader. He sang this for the offertory today to accent the sermon on Jonah 2. You can download it on iTunes and enjoy the haunting melody, too. I love how God turns our desperation to grace. "Now I will celebrate for all the thousand ways that You have shown me grace!"

"I Need You"
by Josh Bales

My heart is restless in me
My wings are all worn out
I'm walking in the wilderness
And I cannot get out
I need You, Oh, I need You
Blessed Savior come
I need You, Oh, I need You
Fill the every longing of my soul

Oh, how I need You, Lord
I need Your perfect Word
With tearful eyes to see
The sin that I afford
I need to weep and pray
For all the thousand ways
That I have failed You just today

My bed is soaked with sadness
My sadness has no end
A downward spiral of despair
And I keep falling in
I need You, Oh, I need You
To You my soul shall fly
I need You, Oh, I need You
Yaweh, how I love You more than life

Oh, how I need You, Lord
I need Your perfect Word
With tearful eyes to see
The sin that I afford
I need to weep and pray
For all the thousand ways
That I have failed You just today

Your silence is like death to me
So won't You hear my desperate plea

Today my soul is soaring
Way over mountains high
Though I can see the valleys,
They're all just passing by
It's not that I am stronger
Look at my feeble wings
But I've been lifted higher
Yaweh's lifted me in His own strength

Oh, how I love You, Lord
I love Your perfect Word
With tearful eyes to see
The God who always will endure
Now I will celebrate
For all the thousand ways
That You have shown me grace
And made my heart in grace to stay
You've made my heart in grace to stay
You've made my heart in grace to stay

A band called The Swift recorded Josh’s song. Here is the YouTube of it!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Even More Weekend Gratitude

Dear friends,

Welcome to a new edition of Weekend Gratitude! I don't know how long I'll keep this little series going, but it suits me well enough for now.  If you would like to read the other posts, click here: Weekend Gratitude.

So what am I grateful for this weekend?

Naomi and Ben both celebrated birthdays this week: she turned 10 on Wednesday, and he turned 8 today. (Time flies!) I wanted to get Ben some Larry Boy books at Brightlight, my favorite used bookstore, so I brought in some books to sell for store credit. I realized later that afternoon that I needed a copy of Tim Keller's book Gospel in Life for a community group study at church. (I am still used to calling this a home group instead of a community group. It will take some getting used to.) Scott, the owner of the store, couldn't find a copy there in the store but offered to bring in his own copy from home since his church is studying it, too.

While we were looking for that at Brightlight, we managed to turn up a copy of a new book by Tim Keller, Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just.  (The subtitle on the copy at Christian Book Distributors is Finding Grace in God through Practicing Justice, which seems more fitting.)  As soon as I saw it, I knew it was mine... :-)  There goes half of my store credit! But it's worth it.  Justice is a topic dear to my heart, and I'm delighted to see a book that dispels the suspicion that conservative Christians have of the importance of "social justice" while at the same time dispelling the suspicion that justice-minded liberals have that the Bible promotes injustice.  In fact, I suspect that the title is sort of a comeback retort to Emergent Church leader Brian McLaren's book Generous Orthodoxy, which in my mind is anything but orthodoxy.  (I respect the Emergent Church commitment to social justice and missional living; I just don't like their aberrant theology about the crucial basics of the Christian faith.)  I started reading Generous Justice early this morning and got a few chapters in before I had to make Ben's birthday breakfast of waffles & pancakes (boxed), eggs, sausage, and fresh sliced strawberries.

I loved the worship service at Lake Baldwin Church, as always. It's a mix of contemporary worship songs and hymns. This morning, we sang "O Worship the King" which was our wedding hymn. (First verse: "O worship the King, all glorious above, O gratefully sing His power and His love; Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days, Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.") My husband and I nudged each other and smiled. Another was "God Moves."  This is the modern version of the old hymn by William Cowper, who suffered from depression; it's a very encouraging song for those who wonder why life is going the way it is.  (First verse: "God moves in a mysterious way / His wonders to perform / He plants His footsteps in the sea / And rides upon the storm / Deep in His dark and hidden mines / With never-failing skill / He fashions all His bright designs / And works His sovereign will / So God we trust in You / O God we trust in You.")

Dave Abney preached the second sermon on Jonah and quoted a bit from the old poem "Hound of Heaven" by Francis Thompson as a reminder of how God pursues us even when we turn away from him.
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;

I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbéd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
“All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.”

(This reminds me of my own poem, Corpus Christi, which uses the phrase "Hound of Heaven" about midway through: "He traverses the land, announcing the Kingdom of God-With-Us / Among those who do not yet recognize his benevolent dominion /  He goes to those who will not come on their own, in mercy / Chases those who run headlong toward the brink of destruction: Hound of Heaven")

After church, we drove over to Bart and Judy's house for lunch to get to know the other families in our new community group, which is named Communitas. We each had a chance to share a little bit of our life stories. It is always fascinating to realize how God really does move in mysterious ways.  One of the moms told how her son is plannning to study international human rights law, so I told her about the Generous Justice book.

(The beautiful outdoor photos you see in this blog post were all taken in Bart and Judy's back yard by my talented son Micah, who supervised the editing of them as well.)

We are in the process of becoming members of Lake Baldwin. We took the membership class last month and needed an interview with an elder before officially joining. Fortunately, Bart happens to be an elder, so we stayed after the lunch and did this in the comfort of their living room.  By the time we left their house, the kids were so stuffed with good food that none of them seemed terribly interested in the hot dogs and birthday cake I fixed for Ben's birthday dinner!

Tomorrow we're planning to go to the Orlando Science Center to see the new "Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees" IMAX movie and the new Curious George hands-on exhibit. (We were going to go on Saturday, but our day became a little too chaotic. Did I mention that I somehow missed a library due date and had to quickly round up 25 books and pay almost a $10 fine? Ouch! Next time, I need to put the due date on the kitchen calendar and in my iPod calendar rather than just waiting for the "books due" e-mail from the library. Oh well, live and learn.)  On Saturday morning, while I was doing home school lesson planning for next week,  I twiddled with our school schedule so we can spend more time on the kids' independent math and writing assignments, even if it means cutting back a bit on history and literature. 

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, so after the kids go to bed, I need to sneak candy into the little pockets on our big red felt heart that we just mounted on the dining room wall.  Naomi has already put a heart-shaped box of chocolate's in the pocket labeled Mom & Dad.

All in all, despite the library fines and mounds of laundry still waiting to be folded, it's been another great weekend, and I'm grateful.

How was your weekend?

Virginia Knowles

P.S. Tim Keller, author of Generous Justice and minister at Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City, is speaking at Orangewood Presbyterian in Maitland, Florida, at 7 PM on February 22.

P.P.S Enjoy Micah's pictures!

Naomi and Ben, our birthday girl and boy

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekend Gratitude: Cairo, Justice & Mercy, and "A Hymn For All the World"

Dear friends,

This post is a little longer than most, but hang tight with me and I promise you a little musical treat at the end.  I might not be very eloquent with my words, but the topics are important ones.If you know me well, you know that I have always loved global missions, and that I have increasingly become more aware of (and vocal about) global justice and mercy issues.  Like many of you, I've been trying to keep up with the news of what is happening in Cairo, Egypt, as protesters are demanding democracy and the ouster of President Mubarak.

So you can imagine my delight this morning at Lake Baldwin Church when our pastor, Mike Tilley, interviewed a young lady named Kate who is a student at American University in Cairo.  Kate is returning there tomorrow; her apartment is right in the center of the action, just across the street from government buildings, and a mere five minute walk from the main square.  Her friends have told her there is a tank parked right outside her building!  Kate is pursuing a master's degree in International Human Rights Law and is actively involved in the Resettlement Legal Aid Project which serves refugees from other parts of Africa, including the Sudan.  Many of these families have suffered severely from torture and imprisonment.  She attends an Anglican church for ex-pats; her pastor and the congregation are involved in inter-faith dialogue and community service.  She mentioned that the Coptic Christians were holding a mass in the main square in memory of protesters who had been killed, and that the Muslims had vowed to stand guard and protect them.  According to CNN's report today, "The demonstrations Sunday generally seemed peaceful, often taking on a festive atmosphere. Among those taking part were members of Egypt's Christian minority, who held a Mass in Tahrir Square paying tribute to those killed during clashes. Some Muslim protesters vowed to form a ring around the Christians and protect them during the service.  Egypt's population is 10% Christian, a minority mostly made up of Coptic Christians."  

Kate's pastor requested prayer along the lines of Psalm 71:1-6, "In you, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame.   In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.  Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel. For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.  From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you."

I spoke to Kate after the service, and she was quite pleased when I asked if I could share this information with you.  I also met her mother; I can relate just a little bit to how she might be feeling sending her daughter off into this tumultuous situation, since my daughter Julia went to Bolivia for three months around the same time as a government coup there. ("A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.")  At least Italy is a little more stable place to send Rachel and Joanna for three months this time around!  They left here on Wednesday and love being in Chiavari.  (Happy 20th birthday, Rachel!)  

Kate is already aware of International Justice Mission but hadn't heard yet about author and speaker Carolyn Custis James, who is trying to mobilize Christian women to get involved in global justice issues.  I had read her book When Life and Belief Collide, about women and theology, which Thad bought me for Christmas.  When I went to buy a second copy to send with my girls to my friend Jeannette Walti in Italy, I found another of her books, The Gospel of Ruth, which also touches on global women's issues as it relates the story of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz.  I'm right in the middle of reading that now.  Then, doing a web search, I found that her newest book, Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women, will make its debut at her Synergy2011 conference March 4-6 here in Orlando.  I can't attend the whole conference, but I am planning on at least going to the Saturday evening session presented by Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer prize winning Chinese-American journalist and co-author of the NY Times best-selling book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Ms. WuDunn (who is not a professing Christian) will be speaking about the ongoing violence & oppression against women and the belief that "Women aren't the problem - they're the solution."  I think this will be very eye-opening to anyone who gets stuck thinking of what's going on what around them. Time to take the blinders off!

Also this morning at church, Mike Tilley started a new sermon series on Jonah, reminding us that "All people matter to God" -- no matter where they live -- and that "God gives us unexpected assignments" even when it means preaching the gospel of grace to your enemies.  For ultimately, God's perfect justice (against sin) and mercy (for sinners) meet at the cross of Jesus.

Last Sunday, the final sermon in the "Rhythms of Grace" series was on the Great Commission.  Dave Abney encouraged us to look around for opportunities to serve in our communities, as well as further the cause of global missions.  As part of a responsive reading, we recited an Affirmation of Faith from the Church of South India.  "We believe that God has called us to a partnership for the continuance of his mission in this time and place, and that, though we live in the midst of confusion, turmoil, exploitation, oppression and in the grip of the forces of death, we are called to be instruments of peace and justice." 

The justice theme again!  And that wasn't all!  Josh Bales, the worship leader, led us in singing "A Hymn for All the World."  When I looked it up on-line later, I realized he had written it.  I asked him this morning if I could include the lyrics here. He mentioned that you can download it on iTunes (it's from his CD Underneath the Armor), so now I have it on my iPod. (I also downloaded his renditions of "Psalm 84" and "May the Mind of Christ My Savior.") Just 99 cents each for great music!  He also said you can find it on YouTube, so here it is, followed by the lyrics.

"A Hymn for All the World"
by Josh Bales

There is no place in all the world
   you do not call your own.
Creator of all peoples
   every nation every tongue.

From every corner of the earth,
   boundless is your reign.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
   hear us sing your praise.

We your people call to you,
  asking for your help.
God be merciful to those
  whose pain we've never felt.
Give them rest from worldly sorrow,
   bless them Lord with food to eat.
We ask you, Gentle Shepherd
   call the ones that are your sheep.

All seeing Lord, now look to those
   in city and in field,
Who seek to spread your fame and love,
   this broken world to heal.
See your persecuted children,
   soothe their violent wounds.
In their weakness be their strength,
   that they might hope in you.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
   may your kingdom come
In all the earth as it is in heaven,
   may your will be done.
In all the world in all our hearts,
   Jesus you are King.
We wait, we hope, we trust, we know,
   your face we soon shall see.


For justice & mercy in the grace of Jesus,
Virginia Knowles

P.S. If you haven't had the chance yet, take a peek at my

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

To Italy with Love (In Italia con Amore)

To Italy with Love
(In Italia con Amore)
by Virginia Knowles
for Rachel and Joanna
on February 2, 2011

To Italy with love, I send two daughters
Together on a mission to go forth, beyond!
To their ancestral homeland
Of beauty and ancient lore
For the love of Gesú and ordinary people
Story by story: telling truth
Stitch by stitch: knitting hearts
Meal by meal: nourishing souls

Sweet Sovereign Spirit
In and through these two
And those who came before
And those who shall come after evermore
Kindle a fresh flame
A new Renaissance in Italy
When art retells the gospel glory
And minstrels sing Amazing Grace

May a rebirth of your vibrant presence
Abide in this place
Neighbor by neighbor
Village by village
Bring your abundance of life
To Italy with love.
Sì, abbondanza di vita
In Italia con amore.

My daugters Rachel and Joanna are flying to Italy today.  Right now they are on their connecting flight from Atlanta to Rome and then on to Genoa, finally arriving in the little coastal town of Chiavari sometime tomorrow. They will be staying for three months with our dear friends Lee and Jeannette Walti and children, who are missionaries with Italian Ministries, and help them teach English as an outreach to the community.  It is the Waltis' hope that in building warm relationships over the course of years that they can share the grace of Jesus wherever they go. Eventually, they want to plant an evangelical church there, which is quite a rarity in the vast majority of Italian towns.  This is a country which, despite its heritage, is surprisingly non-religious in daily practice.

And so, after months of planning an preparation with them, Thad and I sent our girls on their way this morning, with a few tears amidst the flurries of last minute packing.  I handed them each a copy of this prayer-poem as they left.  Does the title sound a little familiar to you?  Two years ago, my daughter Julia went to Bolivia for three months by herself to help a missionary friend in Entre Rios in her ministry in the remote mountain villages. I wrote "To Bolivia with Love" just before she left.  It was a much more hazardous and primitive trip, but she made it back in one piece!  Italy will be much different from Bolivia, I am sure, but still as life changing for my girls.

The end lines of the poem might seem familiar too, since one of the ending phrases is the name of the girls' new Italy blog, Abbondanza di Vita.

And early draft of this "To Italy with Love" poem included these lines:

My own going is still just around here for now
A mother tending children
Instilling vision for nations and generations
Story by story, launching these young arrows
To go forth, beyond!

Oh, I know that sounds so noble and spiritual.  Sometimes, my life as a mother seems more a matter of keeping my young arrows from poking each other too much, and trying to give them a radical vision that love, peace, and grace should begin right here at home. Sometimes it is Mommy who needs the fresh vision.  (And speaking of world missions, sometimes the thought of eating grasshoppers in a mud hut in the jungle sounds easier than mothering.  :-)  But my job is "still just around here for now" and today, for our unit study on the pioneers, one of our stories was about Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, missionaries to the Oregon territories in the 1830's.  I don't think I could have handled what she endured as the first white woman to cross the Rockies.  I think I'll pass on the mud huts after all.)

Is it hard?  Hard to raise kids?  Certainly! Hard to let them go when I'd rather hold them close?  Definitely!

Today my younger kids watched a favorite old Winnie the Pooh video. Rabbit has struggled to raise a stranded baby bird, but now Kessie has grown up and wants to fly south.  Poor Rabbit is gripped with despair at the prospect of letting his precious one go.  But birds are meant to fly!  So with love and much trepidation, he blesses Kessie's new season of life and says goodbye.  Isn't that the story of parenthood?

So then, is it all worth it in the end?  Absolutely!  It's just a life of faith, from first to last.

God bless you!  (And say prayer for my girls!)
Virginia Knowles

P.S.  You might like to see the Missions page I created for this blog, as well as the article And They Are Strong and Bold... (Girls and the Grand Adventure).

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