Emotional Eruptions

I have thoroughly enjoyed all the stages of my children’s development, but I am thinking the teenage stage is probably one of my favorite.  I love how they think they know more than their elders, make fun of our dispositions and actions, and most of all, I think it is funny how they are getting used to the adult life.

My beautiful daughter is learning how important it is to take good care of your face to prevent any acne from surfacing from her pores.  She is now on a fifteen minute routine that she performs morning and night to ensure her face remains clean, oil and blemish free.

I think it is fantastic that she devotes this time to the prevention of these nasty buggers.  We all know that pimples are excess oil, dead skin cells and bacteria that get overloaded in our pores and cause this hard, inflamed part on our skin.  It actually comes from the Greek word that means “skin eruption”.  Funny part of the puzzle I think!

As I listen to her perform this lengthy routine every day, it makes me think about the importance of our own emotional health.  We really should be doing the same with our emotional well-being as my daughter is doing with her facial well-being.  She is taking a half hour out of her day to prevent these “skin eruptions” but so many of us should really be taking thirty minutes out of our day to prevent “emotional eruptions”.

Why do we worry about what is on the surface of our bodies, but not what’s going on deep inside of our souls?  Our mental pimples come from the dirty bacteria of our life experiences, the oil of bitterness and dead dream-cells that get plugged up in our minds and cause hard, inflamed parts in our souls.  Emotional pimples so to speak.  They fester in our thoughts and make emotional eruptions just like on our skin’s surface.

I’m sure my daughter isn’t the only one that spends time on making sure her face is acne-free.  Geeze, most women are definitely guilty of this!  Spending tons of their daily time on what their face looks like.  Make-up application isn’t a speedy affair and most woman spend tons of time making sure all their blemishes and imperfections are perfectly hidden under all that foundation, highlighter, blush, mascara, etc.  Meanwhile, their insides are totally falling apart.  They are ready to explode or take a mental breakdown, but they still look good on the surface.

If we spend the time on what our face looks like, shouldn’t it be more important to focus on our emotional pores?  Our emotional imperfections?  If we don’t want things to plug our emotional pores, then we really have to take the time to do the work that is needed to make sure we don’t have emotional eruptions either.

If you have time in your day to spend on pampering your face, feet, hands and even eyelashes, you surely can find time to pamper your soul.  Even if it is just 20 minutes a day to sit and meditate.  You can do a guided meditation, or sit in silence.  The important part is that you devote time to something incredibly more valuable than your face, your mental health!

The excuse, “I don’t have time” doesn’t fly with me.  We all have choices and if you choose to spend hours on making sure your outward appearance is great for all the world to see, than you have time to work on your inner appearance.  In all reality, this is what makes a person attractive, not what they look like on the outside!

Try multitasking.  Use your time wisely.  While you are in the shower, listen to something spiritual that you find touches your soul, or that educates you on the importance of meditation.  While you are putting on your face in the morning and taking it off at night, again, play an audiobook that will teach you the importance of pampering your inner appearance.  This is actually the part of you that people will eventually find the most attractive anyway!

I love the Buddha quote that says, “You cannot always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside.”  My daughter can help control her skin eruptions to a certain extent if she spends the time nursing this area of her face, but we can always control our emotional eruptions if we spend time fostering our insides.  I recommend everyone read “Conquest of the Mind” by one of my favorite authors, Eknath Easwaran!  This book will help you take charge of your thoughts and reshape your life, if you are ready to put energy into this part of yourself.

It is time for everyone to realize that their inner health and well-being is more important than their outer appearances.  Spend your valuable time cleaning up the inner you.  I can’t stress the importance of this part of yourself.  Happiness is always found on the inside, not on the outside, so pamper that inner you to give you the happiness you deserve!  Nobody wants Emotional Eruptions, just like nobody wants pimples all over their face.  Clean up yours today!

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Backyard Trampoline Basics

Backyard trampolines.  What is your opinion?  Being a gymnastics coach needing to be certified on trampoline as well as artistic gymnastics, I hate them.  The word hate, doesn’t even touch the surface of my negative emotions towards this piece of play equipment.  In my opinion, it shouldn’t even be available for the public to purchase.

My daughter being 12 years old now, has wanted a trampoline for many, many years but eventually gave up asking for one.  Their danger factor is off the radar for me, and I have a long list of reasons why she was never going to get one.

My husband wanted to come watch our daughter at Atlantics, but I convinced him to stay home.  He had to fly there, and it wasn’t really worth it for him to travel that far to see her do a total of two minutes of routines.  I just felt it wasn’t worth the cost, but knew that our daughter would be devastated that her father wasn’t coming.

In attempts to ease the pain, the idea popped into my head to buy her a trampoline as a replacement for her father not travelling to watch her competition.  She was ecstatic!  It was a dream come true, but then had doubts on why I was changing my train of thought on the backyard trampoline.

It didn’t change my feelings about this bouncing death trap, but I did feel that she was old enough to follow my rules about it, and that the neighborhood kids were old enough as well.  It’s when there is more than one person on the trampoline at a time that this apparatus becomes dangerous.  If used properly, maturely and under a certified instructor, a trampoline is very useful tool for a gymnast because the elements on the trampoline are transferable to the other events.

This is the same with our spiritual world.  When we are younger, just like using the trampoline, we don’t realize the danger of not believing that there is a greater power that controls the universe.  We are oblivious to what can happen to us if we bounced out of control and lose our air sense.  The same is true with spirituality.  We can bounce out of control and lose our way, and usually do.

As we age, and learn from our life experiences eventually we learn the value of spirituality and that is transferable to our real life, just like trampoline skills transfer to the gymnastics world.  We begin to understand more of the power that is within us, and God.  We learn the reward of being selfless and charitable and having a strong spiritual connection.  Just like our daughter using the trampoline now that she is older.  She realizes its value, along with its power.  Now what was once a devise that she didn’t understand its ability is now a great tool for her to use in her to better herself in her gymnastics career.

Colossians 1:9-10 explains, “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

Just like being filled with the knowledge of being safe on a trampoline and having the wisdom to understand its dangers, it’s the same with spiritual wisdom.  As we increase in our knowledge of God, our potential is limitless.  Take time every day to walk in the manner worthy of the Lord and watch your life transform.

Just like my daughter and her backyard trampoline.  Bounce your way from living dangerously not knowing the power the trampoline has to educating yourself and using it to benefit you in other parts of your life.  You will love the ride!

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Evil Torturous Sibling

Today, I had the joy of taking my 12 and 14 year old grocery shopping. You would think that was an easy task, but not today. For some reason these two children decided they were going to be children—more like toddlers. It all started as soon as we got in the truck after school and continued on our laps around the grocery store and didn’t finish until we entered the house. All I could think was, why do I subject myself to this torture, and why are they acting so juvenile? Then, flashbacks from my own days of torturing my brother kept creeping up in my brain. Was I this horrible? Was I this obnoxious? I think maybe I was worse!

My children were actually playing the Echo Game–yes, that’s right at 12 and 14 they were playing that silly game! Do you remember the Echo Game? Someone says something and the other repeats it. Everyone has played it once in their lives I’m sure. Admittedly so or not, we’ve all went there. Well, as I listened to my darling adolescence subject themselves to this mental torture, I remember playing the game and making my brother say bad things about himself, I had to chuckle under my breath.  Good times.

Then it was the time for, “Can we get a treat?” After my sigh and the long hum and hah, the battle began. What battle you may wonder? The battle of who was going to get the best treat, and the all favorite, “If she gets that, then I get two treats.” My kids are competitive by nature and I’m sure along the way, my husband and I nurtured it too, so when it comes to treats, they price shop and know how to get the most for their treat.  They are also strong at making sure the other doesn’t get any more money spent on them than their counter part. Flashbacks to my brother and doing the exact same stunt, only I was much more vocal about the competition, but sadly, my brother didn’t have a competitive bone in his body, so that was never as pleasing to me as it is to my two children.

Next it was wheel the groceries out and put them into the truck. Somehow, it ended up only my son and me loading the groceries from the cart to my truck. I was wondering what happened to my daughter and I could see her all perched pretty in the front seat of the truck, scared she might have to sit in the back seat if she didn’t claim squatters rights as soon as possible. I would have clawed my brother’s eyes out to get the front seat, and eventually the easy-going natured child that he was he wouldn’t even bother fighting with me and just resign himself to sitting in the back.  Honestly, I was a monster!

As I drove home and listened to the second game of Echo for the day, my mind drifted back to my childhood memories of my horrible torture that I instilled daily on my sweet, kindhearted brother who I ate for breakfast and spit out at lunch. How could I treat such an incredible person so poorly? Proverbs 11:21, reminds us, “Evil people will surely be punished, but the children of the godly will go free.” I was so evil to my brother, and deserved to be punished for the torture I put him through. Thank goodness it was sibling rivalry, or at least it was on my part. He was the oldest and I was the youngest trying to win my way to the top of the family.

How many of us are guilty of this? Treating some people very poorly, even though it might be the people that we love the most, like I did with my remarkable brother. Why do we do this? Why is it that we are nicest to the strangers at work or the acquaintances at the grocery store? We shower them with smiles and our sunshiny moods, then we come home and take out our daily frustrations on the people we love? Why do we save our troubles for our husband to hear about after his hard day at work? Or do you trudge around the house grumbling about things under your breath? Wondering why people can’t hang up their jackets, or leave their dirty clothes lying on the floor.

Stop it! Change now! Our family is who we should be treating with the most respect and love! Stop treating them with an evil spirit, no matter what pent up frustration or anger you have inside of you from your day. Be thankful you have coats to hang up, be grateful that you have clothes to dirty and be appreciative of the amazing brother, father, husband, children, grandparents, etc. you have in your life!

Instead of treating the strangers that we meet, or the acquaintances at work with this angelic facade lets change it up and save the energy and love for those that we love the most. Shower these people with the love they deserve and let the little things slide. Someday, those little things, might make or break you, and trust me that is when you will see the big picture.

Just like I did today, reflecting back on the way I treated my incredible big brother. It’s not just my brother I’ve treated poorly in my life, I have a long list and hopefully those people will understand how much they mean to me and how I had my priorities backwards. For all those loved ones I’ve hurt in the past, please forgive me!

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Competition–Good or Bad?

Don’t you love how we are constantly in competition? Constantly being judged? What kind of student we are, what kind of friend we are, what kind of wife we are, what kind of athlete we are…the list is endless. Constant scrutiny. Constant competition. Its non-stop, from the time we are born. Our milestones are marked. When we first crawled, when we first walked…are we delayed in developing. Should there be concern? Exhausting, when you really stop to think about it.

Why? What is with the constant competition? Why is society so stressed out about who is the best at this, or that? It’s a dog eat dog world for sure. I’m a driven person…I might not eat you up, but I loved to win. But my ongoing question, even to myself is, why? Why am I competitive? Why am I constantly on pursuit for perfection? Why do I set so many goals for myself? Why is everything a competition?

As we get older, you would think we’d grow up, but oh…my…Parents are also guilty…actually, I would have to say the worst. Constantly in competition with other parents…whose kid is the best at this, whose kid is the best at that…it’s honestly shameful! We all want what is best for our children, which is our parental instincts, but when parents put other children down, and hope bad things will happen to them, because they don’t like the other kid, or the kid’s parents…really? Take a long look in the mirror people…they are children!

You might question…does this really happen? All the time! How many of us are guilty of boasting, and bragging about our children…I know I have! I love them so much, pride just creeps out…but it is something that is a work in progress. I try now, to just limit my excitement to my immediate family and close friends, but many times it is hard! I know how hard my children work for things, but as I study the word of God, I’m learning that this isn’t what he wants from us.

It says in Phillipians 2:3-4, “Don’t do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves. And look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own.”
Is putting other people’s children down, considering others to be better than yourself? I don’t think so. Is boasting about your life, your child’s life, or what you have, being humble? Do you look down on other people for what they look like, what they come from or what they have? Are you looking after others interests, or just your own?

As I age, and circle the sun daily, I look back and realize how much I have to learn about this amazing world we live in. I do love looking at how far I’ve come. I can’t wait to see what I have learned by the time I’m 80! I love how we evolve as individuals, due to our circumstances that we are faced with. The things life throws at us are meant to help us grow!

I believe competition is good…it helps us analyze ourselves…show us where we need to grow, or what we need to work on…but the competition should be with ourselves, not with others…and definitely not other people’s children.

My children are both also very competitive, but I am setting a goal for myself…I know, I know…there is that word again…but, I think goals are good. My goal is to raise humble children, who when they are successful don’t boast about their accomplishments. I don’t want to squash their competitive nature, but I want to make them more goal oriented instead of competitive. I do believe there is a difference. Goals are something you set for yourself, and have nothing to do with anyone else.

As a parent, I am setting the goal for myself, to support my children in achieving their goals, but I am aware, they might fail once and a while, trying to achieve their goal. This will teach them where they need work. I will be proud when they attain their goals, but also model humbleness so they can see how God wants us to behave. Most importantly, I will promote the other children around them letting them realize that when other children reach their goals, or do well, it is a time to celebrate…NOT to bad mouth them, or think they are undeserving of their accomplishments. We all can’t be amazing at everything…and there is always someone in the world that is better than you…that is what life is all about.

If we don’t achieve our goals, we keep trying, and trying with a happy heart, realizing that maybe we need to readjust our goals…or even our life priorities. Setting goals is a healthy way to be successful, without competing against others!

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God Given Gifts

Do you have a favorite story that you share about your family, or your children? An all-time favorite family story in our family is one about our son, and his love of painting with his feces. Yes, as gross as it sounds, that is always a story that seems to pop up when we are entertaining in our home…or even at other events. Why, you may wonder? If you ever met my son, you might understand.

We knew our son was different right from the start. As you go through seasons in your life with your friends; graduation, university, weddings, having children, and so on, you usually use the world around you as your guide. During my season of having children, my son was off the radar in comparison to the other children his age.

During the first three months of his life, he only slept if he was laying on my chest. He nursed for 40 minutes at a time, slept on my chest for 40 minutes and then was back nursing again. You had to be there to believe it. After his 40 minutes of nursing, and before his power snooze, he would always power-puke…and I mean projectile vomit a good 10 to 12 feet! We had the lactate consultant in to see what was up, and finally we were referred to a pediatrician, who determined that he didn’t have a flap on his esophagus, and we could have had a surgery to fix it, but there was no guarantees…that is another story, which I will have to write about sometime. I just want you to understand, he was a very hard child to raise from birth.

Then came the toilette training days, and again, I compared him to our friends’ children and their experiences, and again, I thought, “What did I ever do to deserve this!?” My son, loved to draw with his diaper droppings! He painted his walls, my van windshield, the hardwood floors, in the kitchen, just to name a few. Anywhere he could hide himself, do his business, and then make his masterpiece was fair game. You might be thinking; where were you when he was doing all this? I was nursing my newborn daughter most times, and not able to quickly jump to my feet when I smelled the damage in action. Some people told me that this was a sign of a genius…genius alright! I thought, it doesn’t take a genius to take a temper tantrum and make his mother go crazy.
Years later, life rolled on, and our boy enters school, and sure enough, he is an overachiever. Reading well above grade level before he started school. He has some kind of phonetic awareness that I’ve never witnessed before, and I am an elementary school teacher.

Time continues to tick by, and we are told many wonderful things. In grade 5 we were told that he could have presented his English presentation to the high school students, last year he won awards at a province wide math competition and just last night he brought home his grade eight report card, and his math mark was 103%. That mystifies my husband…how can you get more than a 100%, it is impossible.

At one point we took him to mental health to help us help him with his overachieving personality…where of course they “tested” him and deemed him “gifted”, which was no surprise…we’ve heard that for years, but I don’t believe in labeling a child gifted. Not to take anything away from my son, but we are all gifted in one way or another. Sure our son is super smart, but at the age 13 he still struggles to get milk into a glass without spilling it. Socially we had to push him to stop teaching himself physics and get out of his bedroom. He is academically gifted, for sure, but I look at our daughter, who wishes she could be super smart like her brother, but she has such other wonderful gifts!
In 1 Peter 4:10 it says, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

We have to stop comparing ourselves to others; like I was guilty of comparing myself as a mother, and son to other children his age; and focus on our own special gifts. We are all created equal! We just have to let God show us the gifts that he’s blessed us with. We aren’t going to find these gifts trying to be like other people. We have to create our own art work with the beautiful brush strokes that God has painted us with. Sure, my son’s gifts are evident, but so are yours if you just let God bring them out of you…and make use of these gifts, the way God wants you to use them.

Grandfather Guru

It’s been 28 years since my grandfather passed away. This man meant the world to me. He was the grumpiest old man on the outside, but inside, you knew he was a big cozy teddy bear just waiting for his hug and kiss, so he could pretend he didn’t want it. He had such an impact on my life, and I can’t explain in words how much I loved this man.

I was very fortunate to live across the road from my grandparents growing up, and this man was my walking, talking play toy since I was born. He loved children, and I loved spending time with him. I remember when he passed thinking that I got robbed…how could I lose the love of my life in grade 9? But, that was my teenage brain feeling sorry for itself. I now cherish all the great memories of this man, and love reflecting on memories…he still makes me laugh!

I can still picture the scene in my head. It feels like yesterday, even though I was only in grade 9. It’s one of those childhood memories, you want to forget but just can’t. The phone rang, and my father rushed out of the house, explaining that he was going across the road to see his parents. Of course we wanted to go too, we jumped at every chance to spend time with our grandparents, but this time, there was no response from my father, and the door slammed in our faces.

We went down to the basement, where we watched my father sprint across the road. Although, dad pretended he was just running over for a quick visit, we could tell with the short responses, the slamming door and his hurried steps that something was wrong.
Of course, we tormented my mother with questions…What’s up? Why didn’t dad answer us? Why did he run across the road? She tried to answer us to the best of her ability without raising any flags, but children can read when their parents are hurting.
We could feel her voice vibrating with every answer as she tried to keep us calm. It was that familiar shake in her voice and we knew that it meant she was fighting back tears. My brother and I knew it was best to leave my mother alone, and so together we went down stairs to peer out the window to see if we could see anything through the light in my grandparents’ home in the dark of the night.

Then the nightmare began…sirens…loud screeching sirens of the ambulance. The workers rushed in with a stretcher being carried between the two of them…now we could see lots. Probably more than we should have, but the darkness of the night allowed the houselights to put the spotlight on the entire situation.

It’s an image I can never erase…his limp body being carried out on the stretcher and the sirens raring off into the darkness of the night…now, we wanted answers, but were too scared to know the truth.

Today, I saw an ambulance parked at a house and the two ambulance attendance, rushing in a house with the stretcher…instant tears. My son looked over at me, knowing that he was going to see pain in my eyes, and tears streaming down my face. It happens every time I see this scene. It triggers a memory I just can’t shake. Twenty eight years have went by, and the pain is still there. Even though, I know he is in a magnificent place in this universe.

John 11:25-26 assures me…“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

I totally do! So, why do I get so affected by the sight of this scene every time? I have no idea why…maybe it’s grief that I haven’t dealt with? Or is it self-pity? Could it be that I just miss my grandfather? Or maybe I feel the pain that the people in that situation are going through? I have no idea…I can’t explain the lump in my chest, but it happens every time.

Our mind is a powerful weapon, and we are what we believe we are. We have a huge power to change things. Sadly, we can’t bring people back, but our thoughts are the building blocks of our life. We can change the way we deal with the grief of losing someone in our lives. My mother-in-law lost her mother when she was very young, and says she still thinks about her mother every day.

The pain never goes away when we lose a loved one, but we have to realize that we are wired the way we process our difficulties like this. Who you are is in line with our thoughts, so let’s realign ourselves with God, and let him help fix these sorrows so that we have divine love in our lives, even when our loved ones are in heaven…waiting for us.

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Wedding Withering Wonderland

Who remembers their wedding day? Wasn’t it the most magical day of your life? A little girl’s fairy-tale come true. Your special day, where you actually get to dress up like the princess that you are, with all your loved ones watching you as you make a commitment before them and God. Testifying your love for your knight in shining armor, that you will love and honor for all the days of your life. It’s surreal. At my wedding, my beloved sister-in-law read the famous verse from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7…the notorious, “Love is patient, love is kind…” I loved it. It was exactly how I felt about my handsome, soon-to-be husband.

When I was getting married, so many wise woman had oodles of advice for me. Being naïve as I am, I thought to myself…these people, aren’t marrying my husband…I have the best husband in the entire universe, I don’t need their silly stories, or advice. My life is going to be perfectly perfect. I truly felt this way. He was my every dream come true! Even better than any fairy-tale I ever dreamed of.

One of my friends even gave me a book on “The Submissive Wife”…I literally threw it in the garbage! My mind wondered, people don’t do this anymore? What wife submits to her husband? Just the thought of the word made me cringe and my blood boil. My husband and I are equal partners and I have just as much say in this relationship as him. This just goes to prove how uneducated I was. How incredibly stupid I was. Who would have known, 16 years later, I am proud to call myself a submissive wife.

As years passed, my fairy-tale, quickly became reality. Life happened, the endearing verse from 1 Corinthians 13 slowly drifted from my mind. We had two children and all of a sudden my life changed dramatically, and his…not so much. I was cut off from the real world, and he was bathing in fun…or in my mind he was. I had so much more to give this world. Don’t get me wrong my kids are my world, but my mind played tricks on me.

My self-worth plummeted. Was this my husband’s fault? No, but oh…my…goodness…he was the person that I took it out on. I was bitterly bitter. Fire ran through my veins every time that he got out, and I was trapped home. He wanted me to do things, get out…but I never would. I wanted to be with my kids, but I wanted him to want to stay home too. That wasn’t him though. As the kids got easier, life got more hectic. Sports, homework, work, being a housewife, a mom, a coach, a chef, a nurse, a judge, a psychologist…I thought I was going to crack completely up. Again, whose fault was it…my own, but who did I blame it all on?…You guessed it! My husband! My Knight in Shining Amour!

All this anxiety and bitterness takes a huge toll on a marriage. It is nothing like I dreamed my life would be like with my amazing husband back in 1999…but, did he change? Absolutely not…he is still the hilarious, handsome, fun-loving, caring, absolutely adorable man who is the best dad in the world. Then, what changed? ME!
I went from a state of total adoration of my husband, to a life of bitterness and resentment. Why? Because I let the stress of life bring me down. Instead of praying about it, I grumbled about it to anyone who would listen…Did you know it gives advice on how to be a wife in the bible? I didn’t! Proverbs 12:4 tells us, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.” I definitely was bringing shame on my man. I also love, Proverbs 14:1, “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” I was definitely tearing my house down…tearing HIM down.

Since I made the change to be the submissive wife that he deserves, and the wife God wanted me to be, he’s back to being my knight in shining armor. I lined things up in our lives, the way it says to in the bible, life couldn’t be better. Why was I so blind to the reality that everything has an order, and the order is for a reason? Why did I cringe at the word submissive? Because that is what society tells us impressionable young adults. If only they explained the word submissive…it doesn’t mean less respect, it doesn’t mean that I’m worthless, it just means, that everything has an order, and the husband is the head of the home.

My husband is the head of the home, and he does a fantastic job at it! He owns two restaurants, and runs them with amazing leadership, and he runs his home with even more talent. That’s a lot of pressure on a man, but he does it with ease. He’s a born leader, and such a well-respected man within our community and his restaurant franchise. Why was I bucking the nature of what God wanted our relationship to be? He’s a tremendous person, and values me and my opinion.

Why did it take me so long to realize my place in our world…if only I lived by the words that his sister read at our wedding, and when I was feeling isolated, I should have turned to God for companionship…he’s the only person who can give us what we need. My husband would give me the world if he could, but, only God knows what I need, and only God can fulfill my area of need…not my husband!

Please learn from my naivety, and let the order of authority happen in your home and your relationship. Watch the magic unfold! Your fairy-tale will come true!

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