Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Prayer Today

Dear Lord,

I miss you. I feel as though I am waving from a distance.

For a time, it seemed as though I could feel your very breath on me, and I loved it. I love you. But now I feel like we rarely sit down together, and when we do, it's to go over a list, to discuss the mechanics of this world.

I don't want to be two old married people who are together by habit. I want to be passionately in love. I want to be the lovers who cannot wait to steel away together.

Lord, is this a normal ebb and flow of love, or have I moved? If I have moved, show me the fault of my footsteps. Lead me back to you. I want to be amazed by your beauty. I want to feel your breath on my skin. I want to be overcome by you until my every thought is about you, your heart, your character.

Dear Lord, you are my everything, the very heartbeat inside of me. Still me to hear you, to feel you. Stop the chaos that wraps me up until I lose sight of you and become distracted by things that don't matter.

Oh, Lord, wrap your arms around me, speak softly into my ear, be my Lover. Let me lay with you, breathe you in. Cover me. Envelop me. Pull me into you until I disappear into the reality, the perfection, the life of you.

Oh, Lord, be more than a King. Be my beloved and still me to be yours.

Copyright 2009 Jerri Phillips
Monday, June 22, 2009

Taking the Promised Land--A Story of Unlikely Friendship

God tends to take people out of their comfort zones in order to give them great things. My friends have all been rewards of stepping outside my comfort zone. The one requiring the greatest leap is definitely Debra.

In the past, I have been very good at padding my relationships as a form of protection. Most relationships I had were based on my expertise in something. I had a definite comfort zone and worked from it. God took that comfort zone and blew it to pieces when He made Debra and I friends.

And trust me. It was a work divinely orchestrated by Him.

I had prayed for a close friend for years. I thought I knew what that meant. In truth, it was a lot about the other person accepting me, supporting me, encouraging me…It was a lot about me. When the Lord brought Debra and me together as friends, it really had so very little to do with me.

Yes, she wanted to know me because of Robert’s heart and hair cut, but at that time, we were on such different pages spiritually. I felt like everything I said was so foreign to her, but, while she might not have understood all I said or did or the reason why, she listened and didn’t write me off as a fanatical flake. So, I kept talking and explaining. Each week we sat in a small lobby and talked. Each week God knit our hearts together a little more.

When our children were moved to different classes, we valued each other enough to keep in touch. Then what I think both of us considered to be strings of friendship were put to the test, and we found out the Lord had not been knitting with small strings but with ropes of supernatural strength.

Debra’s family was hit with a crisis 90% of families don’t survive. Debra needed someone who understood warfare, refused to proclaim defeat, and would not let her be distracted by the lies of circumstance. God gave her me.

All the things she had not known. All the things she had not understood. All the “odd things” that made her want to know me were the very things she needed to win this battle for her family.

At the risk of sounding “sappy”, I had never known the honor or responsibility of being wanted and needed like that. I had never known the importance of being a vital part of victory. I had never known the fierce commitment to stand with someone against hell and humans alike like I learned in that season. And I had never known being consciously needed and depended on by someone like Debra needed and depended on me.

And when the fourteen months of war were over, the Promised Land lay before us. Kay-leb’s mountain was under her feet. Her family would gloriously healed, and everyone else stood amazed. Some were absolutely flabbergasted at the miracle God had worked.

Debra and I weren’t.

I was confused. She was confused. As hard as we had fought, we just knew we would be dancing in the streets and screaming from the rooftops. We weren’t, though. We were…thankful…but we seemed so nonchalant about it. When I asked the Lord to explain our attitudes, He said simply, “You aren’t shocked or amazed because for the two of you, the miracle had already been done. You were already living in the fulfillment of it, so for you, it was a reality that you already lived in.”

The reality we live in.

The reality that sometimes the greatest thing I can get from a friend is being needed…
,,,is being valuable—not just emotionally but practically…
…is having something vital to give…
…is giving everything I have to see her succeed, to see her victorious.

The reality is I need her as my friend, too.

There is no human reason why Debra and I should have been friends. In fact, we laugh because are the least likely people to be friends that we know, and yet, I can’t tell you how many people have asked me how we developed the friendship we have because they want one like it.

What do I tell them?
• Pray..a lot.
• Give God freedom to use unlikely people to build unbelievably close relationships.
• Realize your differences may be the very thing that God will use as a blessing for you both.
• One of the greatest gift is not what someone gives you to meet your needs but the trust they give you to meet theirs.
• Keep the ringer turned up on the phone at all hours.
• It’s easy to be friends when things are easy and Starbucks’ is abundant. But it is far more rewarding to stand in the security of a friendship tested by war, purified by fire, and held together by God.

When the going gets tough, the tough know the Promised Land is theirs for the taking, and it is best enjoyed with friends.

Copyright 2009 Jerri Phillips
Sunday, June 21, 2009

Receiving Friends

For some of us, our own expectations make friendship elusive. For me, I expected people to want a friend with perfected—or at least pretty good—conversational skills. I expected them to want someone with high interest hobbies. I expected folks to want someone diverse, with fascinating stories to tell. I don’t claim to be any of those things, so I assumed I would not be received as a good friend candidate.

It is the tendency of the world to look at the lack of people, to see what they are missing, how they aren’t perfect. It is our tendency, even as children, to compare ourselves to others and see how we come up short. The enemy isolates us by holding up magnified versions of all we are not and exaggerating what we do not have.

But God says we are here because of what we are and what we have is enough.

And according to Al, it is what I do have that opened the door for our friendship.

I have a desire to see people as God sees them. I want to see the truth of who a person is, encourage them in the promises the Lord speaks into and over them, and bless the masterpiece they are created to be. Al wanted someone willing to see the real him—the one with God given gifts, talents, and promise. I believe he is like all of us. When we begin to doubt and question, we want someone who says, “Nope, you haven’t missed it. It may be buried under the struggle you are in, but I still see the wonder of who you are.”

I can do that.

Another thing I have in my arsenal for making friends…a smile.

Let me fill you in on a little secret. Smiles always have an impact. They are one of the best investments you can make into people. Children, adolescents, adults. Age does not matter. Smiles speak volumes. A smile says, “I am so glad to see you. You are valuable and important to me, and you bring my heart joy. You are welcome and wanted here.”

Really, isn’t that what we all want to hear?

It is amazing the power of offering a place to belong, a place to be valued for the truth of who one is.

Funny how being a friend isn’t always about what we have to give. Sometimes it is about being willing to receive—receiving a person for who and where he is, receiving them in all the glory, goofiness, and gravelly knees, receiving them for the masterpiece God has made him to be. And sometimes, we get to receive the most amazing gift-—friendship.

Copyright 2009 Jerri Phillips
Monday, June 15, 2009

Priceless Differences

I’ve spent days telling you about three of my closest friends. When I originally wrote the pieces and sent them out to be approved, I didn’t expect the responses I received. However, I knew they were valuable pieces of the story that revealed not only aspects of friends, but also the heart of God.

Let me show you what I mean.

In MaryB’s response, she wrote:

“I have to laugh - you and Eleanor both - how much our friendship means to you. Don't get me wrong - I think it's wonderful! But what I have in return is just as priceless! I was in much the same place as you. The edge is such a cool place to live and it's hard to find other edgers. …But it was the way you spoke of your relationship with the Lord that drew me to correspond with you further. I had never heard anyone talk of Him the way you did, and it was what I wanted. And whatever your own struggles were, it didn't matter - we're all on a journey and the closer we get to the end of our journeys, the more of our burdens are laid down. He simply loves us to pieces all along the way. Laughs with delight over us.”

But what I have in return is just as priceless! Priceless? Me? Are you kidding?

But she isn’t. I know MaryB. She is sincere. She sees me as priceless. She sees my contribution to her life as priceless. Doesn’t God feel the same way? A God who is willing to send His Son to die a horrid death so His enemy can become a friend…isn’t He saying, “You’re priceless”?

Do you know God thinks you are priceless?

But it was the way you spoke of your relationship with the Lord that drew me to correspond with you further. I had never heard anyone talk of Him the way you did, and it was what I wanted.

I have to laugh at this. She is referring to my passionate intimacy with the Lord. I don’t want to be one of those who simply waves from the back of the throne room. If I’m the Bride, I want to be the best lover He could ever desire.

She mentioned to me once that the statement that caught her attention was my comment on being spoons—lovers curled up back to front like spoons in a drawer—with the Lord. This piqued her interest. It also got me in some really hot theological water with ladies at the church we attended. The idea of seeing God in such a humanistic and base way was about as heretical as a person could get. God did not function in fleshly sexual fashions such as that, and I needed to repent for projecting my flesh onto Him.

This is the same God that put Song of Solomon in the Bible and in all the racy talk about sex never mentioned procreation. I could be wrong, but I’m thinking God is into intimacy for the sake of relationship.

BUT, not everyone thinks that way, and believe me, by the time the religious 410s went back in their gun racks, I was pretty shell-shocked. It took a lot of pushing from God before I had the courage to write that on a message board for the world to see. Then I steeled myself for the next round of bullets, but none came. Instead, what came was:

“You mean God loves me like that?” Oh, yeah.

“He wants me that way?” Oh, yeah.

“You mean there’s more than the Christian to-do list?” Oh…yeah…

“And it can be mine?” He’s wanting it to be yours.

Two things I want to point out.

First, intimacy is God’s idea, and people are craving it. MaryB wanted intimacy with God. She also wanted someone who understood that. There is no intimacy until someone is courageous enough to be different and risk rejection. In all honesty, it isn’t “normal” that draws someone for any kind of relationship. It is the different part that catches the eye, that offers a home for a wandering heart. It is the different part that says, “I’ll accept your different part, too.”

And, it is the different part that the enemy will try to tell you is bad, pointless, or ugly. It is the different part that often receives the most curses that God intends to use as the greatest blessing. Satan will try to make you hide your ‘different part’ because he knows that is the special aspect of you that God is going to use to show something special about Himself. What makes you different is what makes you amazing. In Song of Solomon (your know, the trashy book about the absolute pleasure of intimacy?) God says this, “There is no one like you. Never has been. Never will be. You are beyond compare (Message, Song of Solomon 4).” No matter how much someone tries to imitate you they’ll never get it right…because you are amazing. You are perfectly different, and God loves that about you.

And I have found the amazing friends He has given me do too.

Copyright 2009 Jerri Phillips
Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Call Her Kay-leb--Part 2

(In case you missed Part 1...)

Now we look back and see so many victories the Lord has given us, but sometimes I think the greatest victory is our friendship itself.

We’ve had some intensely rough spots. At least they seemed like it at the time. Looking back, I realize it was God pushing us beyond our comfort zones for trust, making us commit to fighting for friendship instead of walking away. And the truth is, I don’t think walking away was ever an option for either of us but we had to learn that.

Early on in our friendship, we had a misunderstanding, and Debra was afraid I would give up, but that never occurred to me. I was far more concerned about her heart and the wounds that made her think I wouldn’t want her as a friend. It broke my heart for her, and my prayer was to be the kind of friend God could use to heal that wound.

At the end of last summer, I was reaching my breaking point with circumstances, and honestly, I wasn’t being wholly truthful with myself, so there was no way to be honest with anyone else. I tried to talk to Debra, and based on what she knew, she tried to help. However, her suggestions were like suggesting simple addition could prove the Theory of Calculus. I didn’t know how to explain things to her, though, so I simply became frustrated and hung up.

And then refused to answer her calls when she called every five minutes for an hour.

We’re both pretty comfortable with bluntness, and I expected some bluntness when I finally answered the phone. However, what I got was a concerned friend who said simply, “I don’t know what is hurting you, and I understand that you can’t put it into words, but I’m not going anywhere. I will pray with you, and I will walk through this with you.” I burst into tears.

Since then, there have been many tears. Sometimes I know what to say. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I just cry, and she listens. Always, she’s there because she understands. She knows what it is like to be in bondage. She knows the desert is a harsh and painful place. She also knows when God makes a promise, He keeps it.

Circumstances, my mood, fatigue, others’ doubts—none of that fazes her because she sees through the stuff and sees the promise. Even on my incredibly lousy days, she’s looks at me…and sees promise…

That is the kind of friend she is. In fact, she’s more than a friend. She’s my Kay-leb.

Copyright Jerri Phillips 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009

I Call Her Kay-leb--Part 1

When I first met Debra, I didn’t like her. Seriously.

Her daughter and my son were in the same gymnastics class, and she and I met while waiting for them in the lobby. She homeschooled. We homeschooled. She asked what curriculum I used, and I answered, “Eclectic.” She then promptly told me the best curriculum for my family, where to find it, how to use it, ad infinitum. It worked for her family, so surely it was right for us as well.

People like that drive me crazy. They sort of grate on my nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard. I cannot get away fast enough.

When I got home, I told Rob about this annoying control freak woman I had met. I told him how she aggravated me. I told him how I dreaded seeing her again, and then, I told him, “Watch. God will make us best friends.”

Rob watched, and God did.

To truly explain our whole friendship would take far longer than my fingers can withstand typing or your eyes want to read. But, again, let me assure you God has a twisted sense of humor.

I guess, if I had to pick one real reason we became friends, it would be because my son got a haircut.

(Didn’t I tell you God has a weird sense of humor?)

Robert was letting his hair grow so he could donate it for a wig. Anna was growing hers as well, but it is different for her. First of all, girls have long hair, and second, hers lay down. Robert, however, was a boy, and that isn’t as acceptable, and his did not lie down. In fact, it stuck straight out in every possible direction. He looked like a reject from an 80s pop band. It was…noticeable.

It was also the source of much teasing and mocking.

It amazed me how cruel adults (not other children. Children didn’t care) could be to children. While I tried to deflect much of the snide and rude comments, many fell on the shoulders of my five-year old son. Still, he didn’t waiver. He was going to grow his hair so some child would not have to be bald. Unfortunately, his hair stopped growing, and he was stuck in an painfully spiky limbo.

After some research, I found out he could donate his hair for it to be sold. The money made would go toward the cost of making the wig.

I explained this to Robert. He immediately sat in a chair. “Cut it now.” And I did.

I relayed this explanation for the wild hair and much longed for haircut to Debra. She said that is when she decided she had to get to know the woman who could raise a son like that.

I wish I could tell you we became friends over coffee and a Beth Moore Bible study. We didn’t.

We became friends in the front seat of her truck as we prayed for her family and her marriage. We became friends via email while she recuperated from West Nile. We became friends at 2:00 am when her heart was racked in pain due to marital struggles.

For fourteen months, we stood together believing for a miracle, believing God cannot lie, believing He could and would keep His word of healing and restoration, believing for a season of addition and not subtraction.

We sat in church together, cried together, and laughed together. When one of us got discouraged, the other was right there with a hand up. When others questions, we stood shoulder to shoulder and refused to budge.

As we approached our second New Year’s as friends, the Lord said my word for that year was, “It’s time to take the land.” Debra started calling me Joshua. Not long after, the Lord told her she would take her mountain, that His promises didn’t fail, and time did not defeat Him. Just as Caleb took his mountain, she would take hers. Then one day I was praying because I knew she needed encouragement. The enemy had come in like a flood, and she needed encouragement. I asked for Him to give her something to assure her, and He laughed and said, “Do you think any of this shocks me? I knew this when I named her. That mountain is hers.”

At first, I was confused. Then it struck me. Debra Kay. Debra Kay-leb. She truly was Kay-leb. Tears and laughter. Only God…

Joshua and Kay-leb. Fellow warriors. Fellow promise believers. When no one else understood, they understood each other. That was us.

At least most of the time. Sometimes even visionaries have trouble seeing…

(Part 2 tomorrow)

Copyright 2009 Jerri Phillips
Friday, June 5, 2009

In a Class by Himself--In Al's Words

Hey Sister,

I read it and personally, I like it :) Actually, I even like this email that you sent as well, it made me smile. I think about the Lord and how He's used you to bless me with encouraging words and a true friendship. Sometimes, I go back and read the words that the Lord has shared with me through friends and complete strangers. When I read the word that you gave me then in this email, I felt God's peace just flow in my heart and it made me smile. Why? Because just last week I was thinking, "I wonder if the Lord still sees me as that gladiator, going over that hill? Am I still God's man for that task, that thing, whatever it is?" And this is one of the words that has helped to sustain me over time. You're right, it's funny how we all meet the Lord; how He meets us where we are in our lives.

Here's what it made me think about:

I think that people need to know that relationships are horizontal and vertical. One of the reasons our friendship was such a blessing was because it also helped me to "hear" the Lord again. Not just because you were sharing His heart, but because I was also missing being in relationship with other Christians...I had become somewhat disconnected from Him. I was praying etc., doing all of the normal things....repenting, fasting, reading the Word...I was wondering why I couldn't hear Him like I had in the past.

One day, I had a conversation with Alan and we discussed hearing the Lord. He shared his own experiences with me about not hearing and the causes of not hearing. One thing that struck me was that he said that in his past experiences, he saw a link between not hearing the Lord (A Vertical Relationship) and not being in relationship with others(Horizontal Relationships) in the body.

He asked me to think about the times when I heard the Lord the most and it was when I was in heavy relationship with other Christians. I needed to work on developing more horizontal relationships at Gateway. So, Alan invited me to that class for two purposes: (1) To help me to develop my gift, and (2) To develop more horizontal relationships at Gateway. So, when I walked into the room and saw that you were there, I felt a certain amount of relief. I think that one of the reasons that people can have such a hard time with Christians and going to church, is that Christians...can be very people like :). I mean, I walked into that room and I only saw three friendly faces in my mind: Alan, a lady named Doris, and You. Then Debra came and said, " Is this the guy that you were praying with that day?" And she smiled. So, that made four friendly faces.

I needed that because sometimes church can feel like a theater with all these actors. We all come, smile fake smiles, applaud, and then go home. I was looking for authenticity...Jesus, right there to meet me where I was at the time. I was searching for understanding, because I had no idea what in the world the Lord wanted me to do next and why in the world He was so quiet about it all. You guys were authentic and it made me feel comfortable. I'm sure if you took a survey and asked people if they thought Gateway was a "friendly" place, they would say 'Yes!" I didn't always feel that way, so I struggled sometimes. you know, that big sanctuary might as well feel like the Grand Canyon sometimes. I use to look across it and scan it for friendly faces. Deep down, we all want to connect. The Lord wanted me to get into relationship with people again, I had become too isolated. That happens to people. So, when I started to connect horizontally again, the vertical did open back up for me. I really think the Lord was intentional in this respect. I had been so busy with work and school and all the other normal life stuff, that I had neglected connecting with people. He wasn't going to allow me to get that guidance by myself, like I wanted to get it.

So, the message that I got out of my experience was that I shouldn't be Solo Christian. Stay connected. I want people to get that out of your message, stay connected. And you know, its really funny....sometimes, it seems like as adults, we have to "learn" friendship all over again. Or, maybe it's just that our definition of friendship becomes more defined and narrow. I'm going to have to read your entries about it all.

Big Hugs!

Me
Thursday, June 4, 2009

In a Class by Himself

If I told you how I met Al, you wouldn’t believe me. He and I talk about it, and we just blink and shake our heads. So I’m just going to skip to our second meeting. I was on the altar team, and I prayed for him. Then the next service started, so we moved to another room where we prayed and talked…through the whole service and next altar ministry time.

But that isn’t what kick started our friendship.

God’s fascination with irony and His somewhat twisted sense of humor is how Al and I came to be friends. You’ll see what I mean.

Believe it or not, I’m an introvert. If you walk into a room full of people, I’ll be the one by the wall. Seriously. I will either be at the podium or by a wall. Those are the two places where I know the social rules and what is expected of me, so that is where I hang out.

When I go to a class or any kind of meeting, I take a book, journal, or something to keep my head down and avoid conversation because I struggle with conversation skills. I don’t really understand that role, so I avoid it. And that is exactly what I was doing when Jesus put Al into my class at church. In fact, Jesus not only put him in my class. He sat him close to me.

Now, I don’t know the whole proper conversation thing, but I do know it is polite to ask how one is doing, so I did. And Jesus laughed really hard…because my hiding place turned into the launch pad for one of my favorite friendships.

We didn’t talk during class, but afterward, we stood in the parking lot and chatted. Usually, we wound down about midnight, but once we talked till nearly two. We sort of wandered all over the map, but mostly, we talked about the Lord and what He was teaching us. The Lord used Al to stretch me, and it was good.

It was also guarded.

It’s easy to be comfortable with someone when I’m in my element—praying for them, offering advice, sharing what I’ve learned, but when life gets hard, I don’t have a lot to say.

Last fall, I quit saying much. I went a few months without emailing or calling, which wasn’t the norm. Al kept in touch. He emailed and sent some text messages. He tried to be connected. I just didn’t know what to say.

Then one day the Lord got pretty stern about my not appreciating His gift. He had given me a friend with discernment, a sincere heart, a heart that seeks Him, a love for my whole family, and the ability to trust vision despite circumstance. Why would I ever consider going into battle without a soldier of his caliber and heart?

I took a deep breath and started to type.

I wrote and cried. I cried because I hurt. I also cried because I was embarrassed. I didn’t like showing him this weak side of me that needed friends so desperately, the side that simply could not weather this storm alone. And, I was embarrassed that I had not told him sooner.

The email took a few hours to write. I’m not sure if it was even coherent. I had no idea when he would write back, but I knew what he would say. I knew he would say, “Jerri, I love you all, and I’m praying for you.” And you know what? He did.

He could have taken offense at the silence, at what I said, at my not wanting to say anything, but he didn’t. Instead, he loves me and my family. He prays for us. He lets us pray for him, and he isn’t afraid of honesty.

He’s proof God has no respect for hiding places.

And he’s in a class by himself.

Copyright Jerri Phillips 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gratitude 21--The Man of My Dreams for 18 Years

Today is our anniversary. We've been married 18 years. It is hard to fathom that it has been so long, but according to the calendar, it has...and I am thankful.

1. Laughter
2. The good times
3. The bad times
4. Two children
5. Forgiveness
6. Mercy
7. Kindness
8. My cheerleader
9. My reality checker
10. A man of integrity
11. A man who pays our rent
12. A man with a good work ethic
13. Common jokes
14. Quotable movies
15. The Carrot Joke
16. Life recorded in 8x10 black and white glossy pictures with the circles and the arrows and a paragraph on the back...
17. His quirky sense of humor
18. He's exothermic...especially wonderful when my toes are cold
19. He hates getting his hands messy
20. His Christmas song issue
21. His shoes are big enough I can just slip them on and clunk around in them instead of taking time to untie and tie mine. Saves me seconds that way.
22. He can make ANY song into a twisted swing version
23. He laughs at my jokes
24. He is a walking trivia file
25. He can be insanely meticulous...I'm usually the one who ends up insane from this
26. Camping
27. Holding hands
28. He reads my blog
29. "That" look
30. Being spoons
31. He tells me he loves me and kisses me before he goes to work in the morning
32. He never holds grudges
33. He grills really good asparagus
34. Rummikube
35. He understands I'm not as fast at Sudoku as he is. He can bury me in that game.
35. Going somewhere we've never been and seeing things we've never see before...together.
36. Yard work
37. Pictionary--I always win. :-)
38. I know how to turn my computer on. He handles everything from there.
39. His smile
40. The Backward ABC song
41. Scrabble
42. Wildflower bouquets
43. He didn't get upset when I bent his specialized license by running into the camper tongue
44. Scripture on wedding invitations
45. That a chord of three strands is not easily broken
46. For the joy of looking forward to seeing him when he gets home today
47. For the expectation of a joyful tomorrow

Honey, I love you! You are the Man of My Dreams, and I am so very thankful to be your wife.

A Sweet Gift-In MaryB's Words

When I wrote the pieces about my friends, I sent them to the respective friend first to read and make sure they approve. MaryB was the first to respond, and when I read her response, I wanted to share it because it is part of the friendship picture. I'll talk about it and the other responses more toward the end of this series. In the meantime, I suggest you ask the Lord for His wisdom to see what He wants you to hear and know through this series--both in what I write and the responses. He is excited to meet you where you are and to give you what you need...and show you His heart toward you.

And now...

From MaryB...

Aww, now you made me cry, lol. You can post it if you want to. I have to laugh - you and Eleanor both - how much our friendship means to you. Don't get me wrong - I think it's wonderful! But what I have in return is just as priceless! I was in much the same place as you. The edge is such a cool place to live and it's hard to find other edgers. Although Donna is one - that's why Papa sent Jenny out to be mentored under her - Jenny is destined to live farther off the edge than I can imagine. But it was the way you spoke of your relationship with the Lord that drew me to correspond with you further. I had never heard anyone talk of Him the way you did, and it was what I wanted. And whatever your own struggles were, it didn't matter - we're all on a journey and the closer we get to the end of our journeys, the more of our burdens are laid down. He simply loves us to pieces all along the way. Laughs with delight over us.

Love you! MaryB

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