All posts by Life of Joy

Dansk Showgirl

iamthedivacztThis week’s Diva Challenge is to use Margret Bremner’s tangle Dansk. Unfortunately I did not quite get it as I would’ve liked. So much about tangling is the order in which you do things and unfortunately I added lines to each Dansk seed one at a time instead of completing one pod and moving to the next.

FB□1 ~ LifeofJoy.meI added Vicki Bassett’s Showgirl, which is the focus tangle of Square One: Purely Zentangle this week. Thankfully I have spent some time with this tangle in the past, so it wasn’t hard to get back in the swing of things with it. I did flip the tile over and start again after I realized where I’d gone wrong. ;)

I decided to forego the dots and string this time around and just plop them down on the tile. :D

Here it is before shading.

DC#320 and Showgirl ~ Lifeofjoy.meMy shading did not do much to salvage my ill attempt at Dansk. :( I enjoyed the process though and that is what is important. ;)

Here it is after shading. Mega difference!

DC#320 and Showgirl ~ Lifeofjoy.meOnce again, I think I prefer this one smaller.

DC#320 and Showgirl ~ Lifeofjoy.meOh yeah! Tons better.

Thanks to the few who took the time to comment last week and thanks also to any who take the time to do so on this one as well.

I will be posting some art each week even though Laura is taking a break for the summer. I hope you’ll stop by.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Onion Rings ala Bacon ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Onion Rings ala Bacon

Satisfying side dish to a sandwich-style dinner. The onion melts in your mouth and the bacon is tender but could be cooked a bit longer to crisp up even more.

I used to love onion rings. Yep, I would get them at most restaurants at least once but then the hard part was remembering which ones I loved and which ones I disliked.

Love the tower of onion rings at Cheddars! Mmmm mmmm! But the ones at Burger King taste fishy but so do their french fries much of the time; I think they must cook fish fillets in the same grease and then don’t clean it often enough. :(

Enter the ketogenic diet and I don’t eat onion rings any more because of the breading. I saw the ketogenic cookbook by Jimmy Moore and Maria Emmerich at Sprouts one day and decided to check it out of our local library. There were so many recipes in it that I could see me using, that I put it on my birthday list and received it. One of the recipes is for rings of onion wrapped in thin strips of bacon. It was very intriguing.

I bought a package of thin bacon specifically for this purpose and some sweet onions, which happened to be on sale at Aldi that week. I kept putting it off and putting it off and finally Sunday evening was the day! My dinner plans were all amuck because I changed my mind about what to cook at the last minute (without consulting a recipe) when I went to take the meat out of the freezer to thaw Saturday night. Then Sunday when it was time to think about getting dinner going, I consulted the recipe and found I was missing a key ingredient and did not want to have our first taste of this new recipe be less than the way it was intended. So . . . we punted and everyone willingly fended for themselves. Well, I made Michael a fried egg sandwich.

I was up in the air with what to make for myself but had these onion rings tempting me. So I mentioned it to Tiffany and she wholeheartedly agreed!

It is soooo simple to do.

Cut a sweet onion into slices a bit thicker than a half in but not quite three-quarters of an inch. You want them to be as even as possible but don’t stress about it. Tiffany didn’t cut ours very even and they turned out just fine.Peel and Slice Onion ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Separate the onion slices into rings and wrap one piece of bacon around one onion ring. That’s it!Bacon Onion Rings ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Lay it down on parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bacon Onion Rings ~ Lifeofjoy.meBacon Onion Rings ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, we had already used this once to bake bacon this morning. Poured off the grease and reused it. :)

Ours didn’t need toothpicks to hold the bacon on but use them if you need to.

Bake in a 375º oven for 25-35 minutes or until the bacon is as crispy as you desire.

Onion Rings ala Bacon ~ Lifeofjoy.meThese are crispier than they look in this picture. ;)

The onion gets nice and soft and the bacon . . . mmmmm, delicious! I wish we had taken more pictures, but we were hungry folks! Maybe next time. ;)

Onion Rings ala Bacon

Ingredients

  • About 1 pound of thin cut bacon
  • 2-3 sweet onions

Instructions

  1. Place parchment paper or aluminum foil on rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Peel the onion and slice into rings about 1/2"-3/4" thick.
  3. Wrap one slice of bacon around the onion ring.
  4. Place on baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 375º for 25-35 minutes, or until bacon is done as desired.
http://lifeofjoy.me/onion-rings-ala-bacon/

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

 

Build on Your Foundation

Be Better ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is good when you and your spouse can share hobbies, activities, or experiences together. Too many times, as the years go by, marriage partners can drift apart. It takes effort to continue to age together.

Last year when I did the ninety day Bible reading challenge, I was the only one in the house doing it. Don’t get me wrong, Michael and the kids were all reading their Bibles too but had just not joined in on that challenge. I could really see that I grew from having done the challenge. However, this year, Michael is reading along too. He has not committed to doing it but he has been reading along (or some days, a little ahead) with the schedule I am following. It has been fun because we can groan together as we struggle reading through Job or share tidbits of information that stuck out to us as we read. Not that we couldn’t do it normally, but it is a shared experience. So we are not only growing spiritually but our marriage is being strengthened as well. :)

Michael and I generally like very different kinds of video games. When we got Zelda, he told the kids he was glad that I found a game I like. It had been a while since I found a video game that I enjoy. Well, he enjoyed watching the kids and I play it. Finally one day, he decided to give it a try. Now we have another shared experience/activity and I can tell our relationship is being strengthened by it.

For years, Tiffany and I would quip movie quotes. Since Michael had not paid attention to the chick-flicks we had watched, he did not get them. Of late, he has paid a bit more attention when we watch one, and now gets the references we make. He’s even joined in on the fun and makes references now and then as well. It has added a new dimension to our relationship and once again, we are strengthened because of it.

Just so you don’t think Michael’s been making all the effort, of late, I have been being more mindful when he tells me about his jobs, in an effort to relate better.  A good marriage takes effort on both parties, both serving and delighting in the other. You married this person for a reason; you must’ve enjoyed their company at some point. It is important to continue to find common ground and build on the foundation you have, creating a great life together.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Last Weekend, Work, and a Bookcase Makeover

Birthday breakfast leftovers ~ Lifeofjoy.meLast Saturday Tiffany and I made a double batch of blueberry baked pancakes, some for breakfast and some for breakfasts throughout the week. Unfortunately before I finished my delicious breakfast, my stomach turned sour. :p

When it clung on for several hours, I tried drinking a stevia sweetened ginger ale. Nothing. I tried some chicken broth but it tasted bland and did not help. I don’t remember what all I tried, but none of it helped. Finally, after taking some acetaminophen, it lessened a bit. But we decided better not risk spreading something this yucky at church, so we stayed home. Thankfully by Sunday night I was back to normal.


Bible ~ Lifeofjoy.meMonday I started to read the Bible through chronologically in ninety days. A week or so ago, I asked my friends on facebook if anyone wanted to join me and I was surprised to get several who wanted to. I created a closed facebook group for us to encourage each other and more readily communicate with each other. I ended up with fifteen friends joining in on the fun. It’s been good so far. I remember last year when I did one, Carrie, the group leader, prayed for us each week. It really helped me; I could feel those prayers. So, I’m following her lead and praying for this group.


My flower garden is coming along nicely. We had a bit of rain, like several days worth, so I haven’t needed to water it until yesterday. I have to admit that those pretty flowers bring me more smiles than I ever thought they would have. I’m so blessed and thankful for all the hard work, time, and money that went into them.

Each week I buy another bag or two of the shredded rubber mulch to add to the rectangular flower bed. Tiffany was a dear heart and put down the last five bags for me!!! I used the weedeater to trim up around the outside of both gardens and also cleared the path to the porch. I got a bit red in the face and a tiny bit sunburnt too. But I caught it before it got bad and it doesn’t hurt at all.

Then as if we hadn’t done enough work already, Tiffany and I rearranged her bedroom furniture. She has some heavy pieces. I shocked her with how strong I really am. :) She had a battle with an inexpensive bookshelf and finally got the better of it. In the end, since it was completely empty and firmed up with screws, she decided to paint some cherry tree branches with blossoms on it.

Here it is before painting.

Before painting ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat’s Tiffany’s dog, Shiloah. She’s a schnoodle.

Here it is after her handiwork.

Painted Bookcase ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe painted some of the sides as well, since she knew she wouldn’t see much of this after the books were put back in it.

Cherry Blossom Bookcase ~ lifeofjoy.meAnd here is what it looks after all is said and done. Painting the ends was a good choice.

Painted bookshelf ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, it was a busy day! We didn’t get done everything we wanted to but we got a lot accomplished any way. We’re calling it a win! :)

I’m looking forward to spending some time with my mom at a local antique mall today. She had a birthday this week and has some birthday money to spend in her happy place, so I’m going to wander around with her. :)

I hope you have a great weekend. Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Train a Child

Today my friend Ana shares how she is growing and maturing through raising her son. The struggle is real. It is our desire that her sharing here today will help you in your situation, whatever it may be.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


It’s so wonderful that the lord doesn’t base his love for us on how we act or if we are deserving. He basis his love solely in that we are his children. This week has been, yet another trial in the saga that is raising my son.

Man I’m telling you, I used to be able to go anywhere anytime with my girls and never once fear the behavior of my children. Insert my three year old son that has me terrified to do much of anything. I am afraid to go anywhere, for at any moment he can pick some situation that will be his undoing. It’s awful. And before you think for one second that I haven’t read or sought counsel from everyone I know on how to deal with it . . .  well I have. And if I’ve done it once, I’ve done it a million times. I have shed more tears over not knowing what he needs than any other fact of my life.

I spend my days afraid if it will be a good day or a bad day and I’ve allowed it all to hang on the balance of my sons attitude. Today I hit a wall as he began a huge fit at my daughters jujitsu class, for he didn’t want to relinquish the phone I had allowed him to play with. He yelled and kicked and hit me on the way to the car. As I buckled him he yelled at me, “STUPID!” I disciplined him and buckled into the car myself.

I was dumbstruck, hurt, embarrassed, angry, and above all DONE. At that moment my heart refused to acknowledge that I had any love for this child at all. I was so hurt that tears stung my eyes and I just wanted to hide. Instantly I thought, why did we have a third! Why? We were so good with two!! The fourth thought was . . . “wow Ana you are a horrible person!”

I was beyond tired of battling with this tiny being and trying to survive my day and feeling so alone in the battle. Every time I would try to explain to my husband my distress and my frustration, all I saw was the pain in his eyes hearing that I was not enjoying mothering our son.

It is a catalyst loving something that brings you to the edge of insanity and right as you’re about to jump says, “Mommy I love you.” As I drove home sad and eerily quiet, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Good thing I don’t just love you when you are obedient!”

Ouch.

He loves us despite our failures and our disobedience. That’s his example to me in how to love my son.

Love is patient!!! Man that one is hard. I so badly want to be plucked out of this battle field that I feel like I’m in with my child. I so badly want his stubbornness to subside and his soft and gentle spirit to come forth. I want him to oblige my dreams and behave all the time. But as I made him oatmeal this evening for dinner, yes oatmeal, and he said, “Mommy I love you!” I responded, “Thank you,” still angry and his little face looked up at me and asked, “You love me too right?” I knew immediately that I did. I love him despite this season of training . . . I love his smiles and giggles and strength. I love that he is mighty and a leader . . . and I understood what God was trying to tell me . . . I allowed myself to respond with my flesh to the situation, instead of my spirit man. I replied . . . “Yes buddy, I do, very much!!” I picked him up and held him and cried again at the knowledge that even when I fail as a mom or as a daughter of God, He’s got my back . . . He’s got my heart and he is gently and lovingly still training me.

All for His Glory,
Ana Osborn

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A New Tile

iamthedivacztSince it is the first Monday in June, I expected the Diva Challenge to be a Use My Tangle challenge but I guess that will be next week since this past weekend was Laura’s Beads of Courage colour run. Thus this week’s challenge is to BEad Inspired; I went with putting beads in my tile by using Beadlines. Hmmm, I think I might do this more times than not for this particular challenge. Oh well, it is what it is. ;)

FB□1 ~ LifeofJoy.meWith that part figured out, I needed to know what else I would add to the tile, so I checked Square One: Purely Zentangle’s focus tangle, which is Puffin by Jean Chaney. I’m so sorry Jean, I did not do your tangle justice but again, it is what it is. :D I think I would have been more successful had I drawn it bigger or practiced it a time or two but I’m in it for speedy art today and the stepout looked easy enough, so straight to the tile I went. :D

I decided to look for a string as a base. Sometimes I love the structure of the basic zentangle steps . . . dots, border, string . . . it makes it easier to get going sometimes. I checked patterncollections.com string for the week and randomly looked at tanglepatterns.com ‘s string #99. I decided that the arches of the first string would not be as conducive to Puffin as the structure of #99, so it won. ;)

While on patterncollections, I checked out their pattern of the day–Deco by Cat Cole–which I liked and thought it was both simple to do and would go well with Puffin. And with that I was ready to tangle!

Here it is before shading.

Another Tile ~ Lifeofjoy.meMy lineart sure does have room for improvement!!! :D

Here it is with the shading! So thankful I have learned some things about shading because it sure does make my work look tons better!

Shaded Beads Tile ~ Lifeofjoy.meI got some doodlestix for my birthday because I’d seen some recommend using them for shading but there seems to be a bit of a learning curve to using them with graphite. Now that I’ve read the packaging, it appears they are more suited to other media. Oh well, no worries. I think the top center puffin is the one I tried using it on but went back and used a micro eraser to dab out a little of the shading, as it looked a bit muddy and had no highlight to it.

I also tried for a bit of drop shadow on the beadline. Eh, not horrible, I guess. Overall, it’s an okay tile, I guess.

Now, I want to thank previous commenters for their kind and encouraging comments last week and thank any of you that take the time to comment this week. You all are a great community!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

 

Choc Peppermint Fat Bombs ~ lifeofjoy.me

Chocolate Peppermint Fat Bombs

These chocolate peppermint candies fat bombs are great at curbing hunger without increasing carbs.

Today’s recipe is super simple. It may look like a lot of ingredients but it really isn’t.

Choc Pep Fat Bombs ~ Lifeofjoy.meNo, don’t go away! Three of those bottles is just because I have them; they are totally unnecessary! :D

My coconut oil is refined because we do not care for the unrefined coconutty taste and it sits on my counter and it has been warm, so it is pretty soft. The butter on the other hand is fresh out of the refrigerator, so I grated it to make it easier to combine.

Coconut Oil and Shredded Butter ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe next ingredient is the only one that is really unusual . . . coconut butter or also called coconut manna. It is simply processed coconut. Literally, I put unsweetened coconut into my food processor and processed until it was kind of smooth. (It can be processed until completely smooth if you have the patience or inclination to do so.)

Coconut Manna ~ Lifeofjoy.meNext add cocoa powder, three drops of peppermint spirits, a tiny bit of cinnamon, and a tiny bit of instant coffee–Michael says this one I bought is gross when drunk, so I’ll be able to make oodles of these fat bombs before I run out of it.

For sweetener, add powdered sweetener of your choice. I use Sukrin Melis/Icing or powdered Swerve. You could also take your favorite granulated sweetener and blend it in a coffee grinder to powder it. You could also just use your favorite liquid sweetener. I used 4 heaping teaspoons of melis, about 8 drops of chocolate liquid stevia, about 8 drops of vanilla cream liquid stevia, and about 4 drops of liquid stevia concentrate. :/ We like it a little bit sweet. ;) (I only use all those liquid stevias because I’ve had them in my refrigerator forever and I might as well use them up. ;) )

I added the rest of the ingredients and then thought I had done something wrong and forgot to take a picture before blending, so there is no picture here. :(

But this is what it looks like once it is all whipped together.

Chocolate Peppermint Fat Bomb batter ~ Lifeofjoy.meFat Bomb ~ Lifeofjoy.meAt this point you could put it all into a glass dish and pop it into the refrigerator until it sets or in the freezer if you are impatient. ;) But I prefer to put it in these little ice cube trays I found at dollar tree. I think they are a great size.

Choc Peppermint Fat Bombs ~ lifeofjoy.me

I have ordered some really cute smiley face candy molds. I’m eager for them to arrive but alas, I must have patience for my $2 purchase will take several weeks to get here.

Oh! I just scooped the fluff out onto the tray and spread it across with a spatula and continued doing so until all the holes were filled. Then I used the spatula to level it all off and clean it up a bit. You can see on the second tray where it isn’t as level because it was the last bits.Choc Peppermint Fat Bombs ~ lifeofjoy.me

You can also melt the butter and the oil together and use a hand blender to emulsify it all together, then just pour it into the cups or dish. I think it sets up a bit harder if it is melted first, but I’ll have to wait until later to decide for sure.

Now, I can almost hear some of you asking why on earth you’d want to eat a fat bomb. Well, when you are on a ketogenic diet, the object is to get your body to burn fat for fuel instead of glucose. If you a lot of carbs or a lot of protein, your body will produce glucose and will burn that first, because it is easier to burn. So if you are hungry but have already eaten as much protein and carbs as you should, then fat bombs are to the rescue. It also helps that they are a sweet treat as well. If you are cold, you probably need to stoke that fat furnace as well, to get it going. As far as sugar free sweet treats go, these are the bomb. ;)

Chocolate Peppermint Fat Bombs

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces coconut oil (softened or melted)
  • 4 ounces butter (I use salted. If you use unsalted, add 1/4 teaspoon salt) (softened or melted)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter/manna
  • 3 drops peppermint spirits
  • 4 heaping teaspoons Sukrin Melis/Icing (or your preferred powdered sugar free sweetener)
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant coffee granuals
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • liquid sweetener, as needed

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in mixing bowl combine thoroughly with either a hand blender or a mixer.
  2. Fill candy molds, mini ice cube trays, or other rimmed container and chill or freeze until solid.
  3. Remove from molds and serve. (If large rimmed container was used, cut into pieces and store in plastic zipper bags until serving.)
http://lifeofjoy.me/chocolate-peppermint-fat-bombs/

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Get Closer to God

I’ve started a challenge to read the entire Bible chronologically in 90 days today. If you want to join, post a comment here and I can get you the information.


Bible ~ Lifeofjoy.meOne of the best things you can do for your marriage is get closer to God!

God is love. Thus, if you develop your relationship with Him, you will be more loving. When I am more loving, I am more forgiving too.

People tend to become like the ones they hang around. When we visit with my friends from the mountains of Virginia, it only takes about a day and Michael starts talking with the same accent. :) We also pick up phrases or gestures from the ones we are around a lot.

This can be a good and a bad thing. It is unlikely that we only pick up the good qualities of those we are around, so we have to work at recognizing negative qualities and work to not adopt those. ;) However, if we spent time with our heavenly Father, we should pick up some of His characteristics.

When I first read the Bible through Chronologically in a short time span, it brought the stories together like a jigsaw puzzle. It was so interesting to read the Psalm after the event that instigated its creation.

So many times when we read the Bible, we only read a small portion of it, understandably so, but reading it chronologically helps you see the whole picture so much better. I’m excited to do it again. I hope some of you will join me. :)

At any rate, nurturing your relationship with God is a big way to nurture your relationship with your spouse, or at least it should be. As we draw closer to God, we should be acting more like him and thus treating those around us even better than we did before.

Even if you cannot embark on a challenge of this size at this time, I encourage you to determine to deepen/strengthen your relationship with God and let it show in all your other relationships.

Until next time. God bless,

Michele ºÜº

 

Cooking, Birthdays, and Liam :)

The last week has been a major baking week for me, as predicted. I made this yummy sugar-free, grain-free cake for Tiffany’s birthday. It’s the same one she made for my birthday.
Birthday Cake ~ Lifeofjoy.meI hadn’t finished putting the candles on as Sean was taking pictures.

It was three layers. See!

Tiff's Cake sliced ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs you may be able to tell from the mess in the middle, the second layer broke apart, so I glued it together with frosting. :) It ate just as good as if it hadn’t been broken. :D

I also made brownies to take to my parents’ to celebrate with the extended family. Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of those. They were fudgey-ish and had chocolate chips in them. Oh! I found a great way to make chocolate syrup/fudge sauce using Sukrin clear fiber syrup, which we put on top of the brownies and sugar-free ice cream my parents’ served us.

Birthdays ~ Lifeofjoy.meI also made a chocolate chocolate bundt cake for my mother’s birthday celebration. We celebrated a week early because we won’t be getting together again until Father’s Day. (And nope, I didn’t get a picture of that one either. The way it is, I swiped the picture above from my mother.)

I made pancake batter on Saturday, which Tiffany cooked on the griddle. While I made the batter, I put the dry ingredients for a second batch in a baggie for Tiffany’s birthday breakfast! Birthdays are busy cooking days around here, so every little bit of help I can give myself the better.

While Tiffany made the pancakes, I mixed up the cake batter for Momma’s cake and put it in the oven and then made some sausage and eggs to go with breakfast because I cannot just eat something sweet for breakfast . . . I gots to have my meats. ;)

On Tiffany’s birthday I added some blueberries and subbed blueberry extract for the vanilla extract. OMGee! These were delicious!!!

Birthday breakfast leftovers ~ Lifeofjoy.meI don’t usually eat leftover pancakes but these were soooo good, I couldn’t help myself! Oh! what makes it even better is that they are perfectly legitimate keto!!!! Whoo hoo!!!

I’d made “Soul Bread” before the weekend arrived last week, knowing how busy I was going to be and we needed that bread for Tiffany’s birthday. We used that bread and made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. The side dish took forever but was sooo good – Zucchini fries with a spicy mayo dip. Mmm mmm! (Sorry, no picture again. :( )

For her birthday dinner we had chicken fried caulirice. It was nice and meaty and I added some good coconut oil to it to up the fat, since the chicken is so low in fat and keto diet is high fat. (Yeah, you know the drill, no picture for this one either.)

Saturday night, Tiffany and I made Mexican pizza. Yummo.

I’ve had a couple of recipes I’ve been wanting to try. One is onion rings where you take a ring of onion and wrap it with thin cut bacon! I also got the ingredients to make “everything” bagels a couple of weeks ago; I really should stop loafing around and make them already. LOL


We also got to watch this cutie this week!!! Woo hoo! I just love him!

Liam Highchair ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe loves is spoons. He gets one to hold as you use the other to shovel the food in. We’ve graduated from tying him on a chair to a high chair, thanks to Lauren. :)

Liam and spoons ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe looks so grown up here! He’s such a good baby!!! He really only gets cranky when he is tired or hungry. Of course, both happen frequently. :D

Jesse Bear ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe seemed to like this sensory ball this visit. And of course, Tiffany is reading him Jesse Bear What will You Wear. I promise, we do own more books than that. :D

Liam and Pawpaw ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, he’s a cutie patootie and we love having him here!!!

Well, I’m going to run for now. I hope you have a great weekend!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Toys

Toys ~ Lifeofjoy.meI have to admit, my kids had too many toys, especially for living in a small house. I’m not sure who was more attached to them, the kids or me. :\

There were suggestions about boxing up some of the toys and rotating them. I don’t know that my kids were overwhelmed by the number of toys. They did not play with just a few of them, to my recollection; they seemed to play with most of them. Of course the few that they didn’t play with, I was attached to for whatever reason (i.e. Etch-a-Sketch and Light Bright) and did not want to eliminate those. We didn’t really have a place we could store  boxed toys on rotation, so that didn’t really work for us.

But I read this article yesterday which brought up some good points. Maybe it will help you tackle this difficult topic. :) Reasons 2 and 10 are ones I hadn’t thought of in that way before and number 1 is definitely true!

It’s a quick-to-read article, so I hope you’ll jump over there and read it for yourself.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº