Beacons of Light and Hope

Beacon of hope and safety

Beacon of hope and safety

How do people react to you? Are you a place of safe-harbor, an anchor of hope and security in your relationship to others? Do you draw people toward you when they recognize you in a crowd? Do they see you as someone reliable and stable in their lives?

Bass Harbor lighthouse by night with moon reflection in ocean. Acadia National Park, Maine, USA.

Bass Harbor lighthouse by night with moon reflection in ocean. Acadia National Park, Maine, USA.

When lighthouses appeared along the coastlines, they guarded areas where destruction and death occurred in the past and could happen again in the near future. These guardians, or beacons of light, offered protection and security to mariners who traveled dangerous waters. Many days and nights clouded their way

Thick fog envelops the land and sea, but the light shines forth offering safety

Thick fog envelops the land and sea, but the light shines forth offering safety

with thick fog, storms, huge waves, and total darkness.

A beacon of hope in a strom

A beacon of light offering hope in a storm

Yet, hope flashed before men’s eyes when they recognized a lighthouse with its distinct pattern of flashing lights. This ally stood watch over dangerous waters filled with buried shoals and sharp boulders that surprised many  sailors. These guardians stood fast in their positions offering hope and safe-harbor to those who trusted in their knowledge of danger ahead.

A faithful guardian warning of submerged shoals and boulders near the shoreline.

A faithful guardian warning of submerged shoals and boulders near the shoreline.

When electricity fails in my house, I reach for a candle, or flashlight to light my path and reset my mind for familiar surroundings. the light draws me, and 2933-single-candle-flamei shun the darkness as much as possible. The candle I light offers me familiarity, but more important, hope and security. It helps me avoid dangers from stumbling and possibly falling that could result in pain, suffering, and even death. Its brightness warms me physically, and inwardly my heart relaxes. Security is important no matter where I find myself in this world. I notice that others in the room gravitate toward the light, too. Emotions that moments before flared out-of-control now became calm and peaceful.

Just as lighthouses offered peace and security to all those who saw them, we as people who know The Light of the World, cjesuslightofworldan offer hope and stability in a world of turmoil. Do you impact people who way in a crisis, or situation of fear? Do they seek your compassion and wisdom when their lives are upside down? Or, is it you who seeks this assurance that everything is alright?

Calm and peaceful waters

Calm and peaceful waters

Become a beacon of hope and anchor for others the Lord sends across your path. There are many mariners seeking hope and peace in this world of darkness. Let your light shine bright that souls seeking refuge and security recognize your pattern of flashing light, familiar and reliable, and one in whom they can trust to lead them to the true Light of the World.

Jesus Light of the World

Jesus Light of the World

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A beacon of safety in the dark of night

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CATCHING UP WITH FRIENDS

My friend, Bonnie, with whom my husband and I recently "caught up."

My friend, Bonnie, with whom my husband and I recently “caught up.”

Scripture tells us not to forsake the friends the Lord places in our lives. Proverbs 18:24 says “A man who has too many friends can come to ruin; but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother .” We all have many acquaintances, but close friends are those with whom we can share our deepest feelings.

In Proverbs 27: 9, 10, & 17,  the Bible says, “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart; so does the sweetness of hearty counsel from a  man’s friend.”  “Do not forsake your own friend, or your father’s friend. ” “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens his friend.”

These verses remind me of how close friends support and encourage one another, and actually can improve each other. We need to take time in this busy world to reconnect with our personal friends. Sometimes those friends are from our past; other times they are people who are now in our lives. Either way, this command is for our own sakes. So many blessings occur when we get together with these precious people.

Recently I “caught up” with one of my friends with whom I ran around with in my junior and senior years of high school. Several weeks ago, my post, “When I Was Young” featured this sweet woman in photo booth pictures.  To reunite with this friend, my husband and I took a road trip to Jefferson City, Missouri, and spent two days with Bonnie and her husband, Jay, also a friend from that time period.

Jay, Bonnie's husband, took this photo of us sharing lunch and catching up on events in our lives.

Jay, Bonnie’s husband, took this photo of us sharing lunch and catching up on events in our lives.

I felt a bit of anxiety as we drove 4 1/2 hours to see them. Would they still find things in common with me? Are they looking as forward to this as I am, or will it be an interruption in their lives and routines? Will we have difficulty communicating, or will it be like old times where we talked easily and freely together? Would the passing of time make a difference after all these years? Will it seem like time never passed, and we picked up where we left off forty years ago? When we finally arrived, all of that anxiety left. Their generous hospitality and warm welcome thrilled my heart.

For dinner, Jay and Bonnie took us to a Chinese restaurant, but the buffet offered American food, too. Similar to a Golden Corral, food types filled the sections. After dinner, we traveled back to their home where we talked till late into the night. Finally, we all decided to give our tired bodies rest, and went to bed.

Sharing breakfast at Bonnie and Jay's home.

Sharing breakfast at Bonnie and Jay’s home.

In the morning, more reminiscing took place. We shared more memories of the past as well as new experiences that took place in each of our lives since seeing each other late. One of my most precious blessings took place before breakfast. Owen, Bonnie, and I did devotions together. We took turns reading scriptures and devotional booklets that Owen and I brought. praying together meant so much to me. After breakfast, Jay showed us his gardening work and shed where he does woodworking. Jay has so many talents! He served in Viet Nam as a combat engineer, and in Desert Storm as a flight medic. He shared some of his experiences with us from both tours. In his civilian life, Jay worked as an IT expert. He retired a few years ago, and enjoys gardening, woodworking, and technology.

Later on, I helped Bonnie prepare for lunch. Bonnie taught school for over thirty years. She’s retired now also, but continues to help at school on Fridays. She loves working with kids! We have that passion in common. The meals Bonnie made during our visit tasted wonderful. I remember when she made lunch in our younger years. She fried Spam and fixed vanilla pudding with fruit cocktail in it. That was good then, but these meals forty years later raised the bar a bunch!

After lunch, Owen and I packed up, grudgingly said good-bye, and started our journey back home. We talked about what a terrific time we shared with these dear ones from our past. Before we left, we invited them to come stay with us sometime, and they agreed they would do that. Hopefully, we meet again soon. True friendship never loses the bond we develop, and we need to do all we can to continue to build that bond deeper as much as possible. I am so glad we went to see these friends from our past!

How long has it been since you reunited with a special friend from your past? Is there some way you could renew your relationship with that person? Let me know your thoughts about setting up a time to visit someone who made a positive impact on your life. Then actually make some plans and follow through with them. You’ll be blessed like us!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I really appreciate your time and support!

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MOUNT AYR BOOK SIGNING SCHEDULED

Mount Ary Days parade on town square

Mount Ary Days parade on town square

Here it is the end of June already. Time seems to fly by faster all the time. The Fourth of July celebration is next week, and then it’s time for my next book signing of the year! During Mount Ayr Days, my small town’s celebration of its origin, I will celebrate my two newest books in my Lighthouse series Books.

Model Railroad Club float

Model Railroad Club float

At this special event, cars and tractors will line parking areas on the town square. A Bounce House near the Court House brings the children hours of fun as does the face paintings for which children stand in line to get. A Bar-B-Que cook-off is always something the community looks forward to experiencing every year!

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One of the many cars on display during Mount Ayr Days

Food and drink stands span the square so families can eat meals while they celebrate the activities and events. Usually, a pedal-push event heads the fun, and  several running events highlight the festivities. Quilts made by locals show case the City Hall areas, and other crafts for sale appear throughout the square’s park and around town.  

Second and third books in Mary’s Lighthouse Series books

 

I will setup for my book signing in the public library. Usually, experts examine people’s antiques downstairs each year. I hope friends, teachers, and community members come in the library to help me celebrate my mystery novels, Mystery at London Ledge Lighthouse A Haunting Encounter, and Terror at Twin Lights Lighthouse  Missing! I also hope students who asked about my next books stop in, visit with me, and buy some good summer reading books – mine!  

Mary's first book in her Lighthouse Series Books, Finding Heath Young Lighthouse Keeper

Mary’s first book in her Lighthouse Series Books, Finding Heath Young Lighthouse Keeper

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Burlington Book Signing – Home Again

Friend, classmate, and new graduate, Linda Giffin, joined me at the Burlington book signing event.

Friend, classmate, and new graduate, Linda Giffin, joined me at the Burlington book signing event.

What a beautiful day for a book signing! Many times during Burlington Steamboat Days, heavy rains and storms interrupt the open-air programs down on the waterfront. This time, it was mostly rain-free!

Bookstore owner, Christopher Steven  Murphy pictured with me.

Bookstore owner, Christopher Steven Murphy pictured with me.

My best friend, Martha Kibling, who happens to be my sister, entertained us all with her incredible sense of humor!

My best friend, Martha Kibling, who happens to be my sister, entertained us all with her incredible sense of humor!

The parade passed in front of the Burlington By the Book store where my signing took place. The parade was all of an hour long, and it thrilled me to see so many organizations and groups participate this year. Before, during, and after the parade, people stopped in the store to greet me and buy my books. The support and kind words these dear ones touched my heart.

Classmate and sweet friend, Sharyn Miller, joined me and encouraged me with her words of support fro my books and website blogs.

Classmate and sweet friend, Sharyn Miller, joined me and encouraged me with her words of support for my books and website blogs.

As always, some friends and family I hoped to see did not make it down. Yet, some I did not expect to see came down and spent time catching up on memories and family news. All-in-all, the book sales went well, and the time spent with the visitors encouraged me.

A young middle school reader from Notre Dame, Aiden, who bought his first book in my series!

A young middle school reader from Notre Dame, Aiden, who bought his first book in my series!

After the book signing event ended, some of my visitors went with me to Napoli Pizza where we continued to enjoy each other’s company. Christopher Steven Murphy, the bookstore owner, asked for me to leave signed copies with him, so for those that missed this event, and still want my books, there are some down in his store.

Two of my terrific, faithful friends, Kevin and Debbie, drove down from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to bless my day with their support and fellowship!

Two of my terrific, faithful friends, Kevin and Debbie, drove down from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to bless my day with their support and fellowship!

One person asked if I plan to write more books. I have no idea if and when there will be a fourth book in my lighthouse series books. This is the Lord’s ministry, and I’m seeking His guidance for the future. Enjoy the pictures of some “Burlingtonians” who blessed me with their presence and warm fellowship this past Saturday. You might recognize some of them!

A former teaching friend from West Burlington Independent Schools where I taught for six years!

A former teaching friend from West Burlington Independent Schools where I taught for six years!  Sheila’s husband, Jim Sleister, was the school superintendent.

A wonderful friend, Audrey Timmerman, who rode back and forth to games with Owen and me when our sons played sports together for BHS.

A wonderful friend, Audrey Timmerman, who rode back and forth to games with Owen and me when our sons played sports together for BHS.

A childhood friend and classmate, Sharron (Sourwine) and her brother's girlfriend and Misty, an aspiring teacher, also came to this event.

A childhood friend and classmate, Sharron Sourwine Hall (next to me), her brother’s girlfriend (middle), and Misty Swan, an aspiring teacher, also came to this event.

My brother, Mike Dwight, and wife Christine, celebrated with me Saturday, too!

My brother, Mike Dwight (the runner), and wife Christine, celebrated with me Saturday, too!

Kathy Stout Murphy, classmate and good friend, who works at the Burlington Public Library, joined me also.

Kathy Stout Murphy, classmate and good friend, who works at the Burlington Public Library, joined me also.

Monica West Hudson joined me at the store and for pizza afterwards. Great friend and classmate!

Monica West Hudson joined me at the store and for pizza afterwards. Great friend and classmate!

Thanks to everyone who came, prayed for me, and who helped prepare for this event last Saturday! Thanks to my sister for buying pizza for us afterwards.

 

 

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Tend the Garden

This is another post I enjoyed, and wanted you to enjoy it also. Thank you for visiting and reading my website posts. Please leave a comment for me after reading this. Thank you for your time and support!

Tend the Garden.

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WHEN I WAS YOUNG

Bonnie L (now M) and I in a picture booth goofing off

My friend Bonnie L. (now M.) goofing off in a photo booth, wearing our favorite hats.

Do you remember your days in high school as being good, bad, lonely, confusing, exciting, or ones you’d like to forget? Most of us would admit that, at times, these feelings existed. But friends could ease those emotions, and their character affected us to form our identity.

Bonny A (now C) with Bonnie using Black Jack gum in the photo booth

Bonny A. (now C.) and Bonnie using Black Jack gum during their pose in the photo booth. We used it dragging the strip to shock the boys when we smiled at them!

I had friends in high school, but my sister, Martha, was my overall best friend. She and I usually walked back and forth to school together, unless my older brother, Tim gave us a ride. By the time I was a junior, I bought my car, and I started working at a snack bar downtown in Burlington. It felt good earning my own money, and I bought all my own clothes, gave Mom money so she could afford new appliances, furniture, and clothes. I could finally afford to buy her nice gifts for Christmas and her birthday.

Mom gave up so much to raise the four of us by herself. My father rarely paid child care, and she sacrificed so we could have school clothes, textbook rental, and school supplies, shoes, coats, gloves, and boots. She bought them, and we took good care of them, knowing she could not afford to replace any of them. I felt proud to carry my share of these responsibilities, and will always be grateful for that first job where I earned $ .75 an hour.

Me, Bonnie, Bonny, and my sis, Martha crammed into a photo booth

Me, Bonnie, Bonny, and my sis, Martha crammed into a photo booth

During my years working at this restaurant, I met some of my best friends. We all worked at this same place, and realized we had common interests. Of course, meeting boys was one of these, but laughing and joking around, dancing, singing folk songs, and dreaming about what we wanted to do in life were other interests we shared.

After work, we would “drag the strip” downtown, and flirt with boys in muscle cars, or cars, period! To “drag the strip” meant driving up and down Jefferson Street downtown, over and over again. Bonny C. had a car that used lots of oil. We had to stop and take care of that problem often. Sometimes we’d stop and take a food break at McDonald’s (15 cents hamburgers), or go to Twin Oaks where the waitresses came out and took our orders, and then brought them out to us in the car. We

Bonnie and I posing in a tree in the park.

Bonnie and I posing in a tree in the park.

went to movies together, especially movies about the Beatles. Other times we went to places and sang together on a stage while Bonnie L. played guitar.

A couple of times at work, we played tricks on guys who repaired the Coke machines, ice machines, etc., by hiding their tools. They’d go back downstairs thinking they left them there, but when they returned, the tool was laying in plain sight. One man was really rude to us, so we left him a gift in his suit jacket. We stuffed his arms with napkins before we went home. Our dishwasher said he struggled to put his jacket on, and said a string of expletives when he figured out why he couldn’t get his arms through the sleeves. He complained to our boss, so she separated us for a couple of shifts.

Our usual state of mind when together - laughing! Notice the caps we wore - British - Beatle style, popular at that time.

Our usual state of mind when together – laughing! Notice the caps we wore – British – Beatles style, popular at that time.

After a brief time, she let us work together again. She admitted we worked well as a team, and always left the place clean and spotless. Our parents raised us to do our best at whatever we did.

These friends I worked with went to Beauty School, so they practiced their training on me. They colored it, cut it, “frosted it” (similar to highlighting), and styled it with the newest fashions they learned. No one ever knew what I’d look like the next time they saw me! We seemed to spark adventures when we were together.

We remain friends after all of these years. We lost touch for a while, but reconnected after several years. At Christmas, we exchange cards and include notes that include the latest events in our lives. We vow to reconnect in person again, but we’re scattered across the

Bonny and Bonnie without the Black Jack gum.

Bonny and Bonnie without the Black Jack gum.

United States. This weekend my friend in Missouri and I plan to fulfill that vow, along with her husband who also was close to us all. Curiously enough, none of these dear friends ended up as hair-stylists! After all, my hair went through, they chose other career paths – teaching, business, dental hygienist, and military! I am so blessed the Lord brought these people across my paths. Their morals and principles affected me greatly, and made me much of the person I am today! Thanks, guys, for your love and friendship all those years ago, and now!!

Back in for another photo session.

Back in for another photo session.

How have friends impacted you and your character? Do you still remain close to those with whom you interacted during those important high school years? I’d enjoy hearing from you on this subject, and as always, thank you for stopping by and reading this post. Hope to hear from you soon.

Cracking up again over something one of us said!

Cracking up again over something one of us said!

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Hawaii – Land of Paradise

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The southern most tip of the United States, Big Island, Hawaii. Taken from our helicopter.

In early May, my husband and I traveled to Hawaii. We enjoyed exploring two islands of this “paradise” land. First, we went to Kona on the Big Island, and stayed at King’s Land resort for five days. The five pools were amazing, along with a hot tub. We watched young people perform at a luau our first night on the grassy lawn while we ate supper. This was not the traditional luau with the roasted pig and all the island foods, but it was a cultural introduction to Hawaii’s past and current beliefs and values. The atmosphere was laid back, and warm.

The next day we met with a concierge to plan our days on that

Posing with our pilot, Kogi, after landing.

Posing with our pilot, Kogi, after landing.

island. We reserved the traditional luau for Mother’s Day, and a tour on the Atlantis, a submarine ride, for Monday. We ended up reserving a helicopter ride for that same day, so we went from 105 feet below the ocean for almost an hour, to the skies over the entire island for the next 2 1/2 hours. The volcano was impressive! Our pilot was a native to the island, and sought out places in the volcano where the boiling lava appeared below us. He showed us the Kona coffee plantations, the macadamia nut farms, the rain forest, the snow-capped mountains in the north, and magnificent waterfalls. On the eastern coast, a full-circle rainbow appeared near this huge waterfall, and it seemed to follow us up the coast for a while.

My husband and I rented a car when we arrived, so we drove to

Lava shoreline on Big Island, Hawaii.

Lava shoreline on Big Island, Hawaii.

parts of the island to view the ocean scenery from the land. We also discovered a railroad museum, and a lighthouse. During the chopper ride, Kogi, our pilot, showed us other lighthouses around the island. People on the island were friendly and willing to share knowledge about their islands. They reminded us of Iowans, in that way. We traveled to the Big Island Cookie Factory. They actually have a glass closed-in plant where workers make and package these countless varieties of candies and cookies, and then a floor room where you sample and buy the boxed desserts.

Entering the submarine, Atlantis.

Entering the submarine, Atlantis.

As guests at King’s Land resort, we had access to Waikaloa Village Resort. It was huge with swimming pools and beaches, an island tram and boat that took us around the resort, waterfalls, a dolphin watch area, a snorkeling, area, lots of food stands, and much, much more.

Inside the submarine. Note the depth sign at 99 feet!

Inside the submarine. Note the depth sign at 99 feet!

  • This resort is where we attended the big luau. We sat at a table
    Fire Dancers during Luau

    Fire Dancers during Luau

    across from Japanese newly weds, newly weds from Ohio, and next to Owen sat a man from England, and then two women from Memphis, Tennessee! The show was terrific. We learned that the hula originally had no hip movements, only hand movement that

    Audience participation doing the hula at the luau!

    Audience participation doing the hula at the luau!

    told the story of their origins and customs. Later, Polynesians added the hip movements to the dance. The fire dancers impressed the audience with their skill and risk taking. Audience participants chosen by the dance staff to learn the hula put on quite a show, too. Some lacked rhythm big-time! At our table, we all laughed and thanked the Lord we weren’t the entertainment.

USS Arizona underway grave

USS Arizona underway grave

We flew to Honolulu airport after five nights, and stayed at the Waikiki Hawaiian Resort. I finally stepped into the Pacific Ocean, something I always wanted to do. Between the nine towers of hotels, and at least seven pools, and beach, water surrounded us. Tons of food stands and restaurants, shops, and entertainment filled this resort. Owen and I toured Pearl Harbor Museum with the USS Arizona Memorial, and the USS Missouri – somber and impressive activities. Though we loved our time on the islands, we felt ready for home.

The USS Missouri - the Mighty MO

The USS Missouri – the Mighty MO

I wondered as I viewed these islands and their beauty, how would they compare to heaven. When the Lord removes the curse from humanity and the earth, and renews the world after His final return, would any of these places like Hawaii, the Grand canyon, Niagara Falls, etc. reappear on the new earth? Whatever, the Lord does will be amazing!

Have you ever traveled to a place of beauty and wonder? Please share with me your experiences. Thank you for visiting my website, thehopebeacon.wordpress.com, and reading my posts!

Ready to tour the Big Island vis helicopter!

Ready to tour the Big Island via helicopter!

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A Delightful Mother/Daughter Brunch

Kate playing the violin while Mother accompanies her.

Kate playing the violin while Mother accompanies her.

This year’s Mother/Daughter Brunch impressed all in attendance. Many women and their daughters came, and three men took care of setting up the food in the kitchen. The theme, Women After God’s Own Heart, provided fellowship galore, and breakfast food unparalleled by any restaurant. Breakfast selections covered the kitchen counters, and no one left hungry.

Girls presenting a Readers Theater of women in the Bible who loved and followed the Lord.

Girls presenting a Readers Theater of women in the Bible who loved and followed the Lord.

The crafts Karen Bowen and Stephenie Covington prepared wowed the guests with decorating crosses and canvas purses. Lots of beautiful products made by young gals and women alike delighted each one’s efforts!

 

The food and drink lines!!

The food and drink lines!!

Dawn Kelly presented the devotional which included her testimony, how she came to know Christ as her Savior and Lord, and a woman after God’s heart. The young girls performed a Readers Theater about women in the Bible and how they trusted and followed after God. Skya Lau wrote the script, and each girl spoke as one of the Bible women. Kate Greenland shared her musical talent through playing violin selections

Guests decorating crosses

Guests decorating crosses

accompanied by Mom, Teresa Greenland. Catheryn Thoms praised the Lord by singing a beautiful song, He Knows My Name. Dawn, the young girls, Kate, and Catheryn all prepared our hearts to worship our Lord and Savior.

Guests waving Hi for the camera!

Guests waving Hi for the camera!

A special thanks goes to Garlynn Imel for designing our brochure and printing them for us, and for running the sound system for the program.

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Growing Older

thCAJN109YWhat scripturesSayBirthdays are wonderful milestones that remind us of the gift of life and how precious life is. The scriptures say God recorded the days of my life even in my mother’s womb. He knows when my time on earth will end, and what he created me to accomplish while I’m here.

Have you noticed the older you become, the faster the birthdays arrive? I certainly do. Thinking of the fact that my death is already set, and the years quickly pass by, the purpose of my existence is more important to me than ever. How much time do I spend communicating with my Heavenly Father? After all, I’ll be living with Him throughout eternity. My commitment to know Him deeper sends me to the Bible daily. I read and study it along with several devotionals, and then I spend time in prayer discussing with Him the treasures I discovered during these readings. I seek the Spirit’s help to understand what the Word says, what it means, and what it means for me. How else can I be led in His purposes for me?

Writing these posts are part of His leading as well as writing books for middle-graders. Serving Him on earth, and making Him known to others is most important to me. He has no favorites, so you, the reader, is as loved as I am by Him. I pray you seek Him and His will for you. Life on this earth is not forever, but eternal life never ends. What a privilege to know, love, and be loved by the Creator of the universe! Service for Him is not burdensome, but rewarding.

Last fall, I nearly died physically three different times. Yet, the Lord spared my life. Apparently my purpose on earth was not finished yet. However, if I died, I knew for certain I would go to heaven. God took my mother last fall, and I know where she is now. One day I’ll join her – when the date of my death that God recorded comes up. I look forward to that day to see Him face-to-face, and to serve Him throughout eternity. Do you?

thCAFYDQKTLifebeginscrossKnowing Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior is the only way to spend eternity in heaven. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, the life. No one comes to my Father except through Me.” (John 14: 6) Many quote the first part of that verse, but the last part is so important! The disciple Peter proclaims “There is no other name given among man under heaven by which you must be saved” – Jesus, the One Who was crucified and rose from the dead (Acts 4:12). In what, or who are you trusting for your eternity? If your recorded death was today, where you spend eternity? On what do you base your answer?

I am interested in your answer, dear reader. Please leave me a comment. Thank you for reading my posts!

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Just Some Vanilla

I read this on another person’s blog, and it touched my heart deeply. I decided to post it for my visitors to read. I hope you it enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks for coming by!

Just Some Vanilla.

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