Monday, February 27, 2012

The Real Me...

The Real Me is the one I try real hard to not let anyone see, but if you want to meet the real me, come over to my house and watch my children for a day...

My children are a reflection of the real me that I hide from the rest of the world.  My children who are born with a sin nature and a rebellious heart are a mirror image of what's in my heart.  Caleb with his anger.  Jordan with her sass.  Isaiah with his complaints.  Andrew with his temper tantrums.  All of them with their impatience and selfishness.  I get so frustrated when I see all of these things in them, until God reminds me, that's a picture of the real me. 

The real me is lazy like my kids who don't want to clean their rooms.  The real me is impatient and unkind with anyone who impresses on my time or gets in my space.  The real me doesn't want to eat my veggies, I want sugar instead.  The real me is angry that things don't always go my way.  The real me would rather watch stuff I shouldn't than spend time in God's word.  The real me is tempted by everything.  The real me is jealous.  The real me is mean.  The real me is out for #1.

This morning when I was making breakfast my two middle sons complained the whole time about what I was making.  They don't want to eat healthier.  They like cereal and pancakes covered in syrup, who doesn't.  Oh me I would rather make that stuff, it's yummy and then I wouldn't have to fight with them.  Instead I continue to make the healthy food that no one wants, because it's better for them, even if they don't care.   As I cook I grow angrier and angrier at my children for being so hard to deal with, AND THEN...  The Lord places the scene of the children of Israel in my minds eye.  Complaining about EVERYTHING.  Disobedient at every turn.  Rebellious and Hardheaded.  Problem is he wasn't showing me that because of my ungrateful children, he was showing me how he has to deal with the same thing from all of his children (including ME).  Then He so graciously pointed out that my children are a reflection of the real me.  The one that they get to see.  The one who is not perfect inside the walls of this house.  The one who complains all the time.  The one who loses her temper all the time.  The one who would rather go back to Egypt then follow God in this wilderness. 

Oh yes, I can fool myself at times, but I have no goodness apart from Christ.  The fruit of the Spirit in my life...  love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control ONLY COME FROM HIS SPIRIT.  The real me as at war with the Spirit in me all the time.   Galatians 5:24-25 tells us "and they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."    Crucify the Flesh...  That's what I have to do on a daily basis, because when I became a follower of Christ I didn't become perfect.  Everyday I have to die to MY, MY, MY affections and lusts...  Do you see that?  MY affections and lusts...  I still have them, I just have to KILL THEM and live in the Spirit.  My children haven't learned to do that yet, so when you see them misbehave just know they are a reflection of me.

Friday, February 24, 2012

For our Health's sake...

Health is a big deal...  When you don't feed your body right it doesn't work right...  I should know I haven't fed my right in a long time.   When I was pregnant with my firstborn I came across a book called "What the Bible Says About Healthy Living".  It was full of wonderful information that I had never heard before.  I couldn't put it down.  Reading this book made me realize for maybe the first time how fearfully and wonderfully we are made.  I saw that the Old Testament laws were designed to bring God's people amazing health. 

Growing up I NEVER heard anything about good food for good health.  I heard eat your veggies, but never knew why.  So, who cares if you eat your veggies.  We ate out alot...enough said.  Anyhoo, read the book and decided to listen and obey.  Not that I was a perfect picture of health.  I have ALWAYS hated any form of excercise, except walking, and I don't do that enough.  But, I did become more concious of what I was feeding myself and the new life inside me. 

All that went out the door when I found myself pregnant for the 3rd time in 5 years.  I was TIRED.  I didn't care what I ate.  Snickers and Diet Coke became my best friends.  I ate terribly and so did my children.  We started eating out more and when I did cook it was cheap and easy.  Breakfast was cold cereal 4 times a week.  Lunch at a fastfood place 2 days and junk the rest.  My babies have always loved fruit and I try to have plenty around, but goldfish is a quicker, easier snack.  The most frequent veggie they have seen in their lives is canned corn and green beans.  Ooooh Healthy!

Like I said in previous post my mom's recent battle with cancer has motivated me to seek better health for my family again.  We have also have a 3yr old that is VERY high energy.  I know his diet has to be a major factor in that.   So, we're making some changes around here.  This is my list of 5 things I have committed to do to improve  my families health:

1.  Drink more water...   My favorite thing to drink and the only beverage I truly enjoy is Diet Coke, can we say NOT HEALTHY!!!  Between DC and sweet (I mean SWEET) Tea, there's not much room for water.  Likewise my children drink from my ST glass all day and when they have a glass of their own it's got some form of sugary drink in it.  SO, for health's sake we're switching it up.   We have a new rule now...  MOSTLY WATER!

2.  More Protein...  High energy does not need lots of sugar.  DUH.  But, that is what our snacks have been before.  Thankfully my 3yr old LOVES almonds and string cheese.  So, that's the new snack of choice.   I've already seen a huge improvement.   I changed our normally sugar filled yogurt to plain yogurt with added fruit.  IF you have any suggestions on the protein let me know...

3.  More Fiber...  We're adding more fruits and veggies and  I got some flax seed to grind up and I'm putting that in our smoothies.  You know what fiber does...  Everybody could use a clean out.

4.  Juicing...  I have had a juicer for a long time, but after a week or so I got tired of all the WORK it takes to get it out, use it, take it apart, clean it, and put it away again.  BUT, I have now decided it's worth it for our health's sake.   The ONLY way I can get my littles to eat the green stuff they don't dig is JUICE IT.  They love watching me juice the veggies and since it's a fun experience they like to drink the juice up.    I'm freezing the pulp and putting it in spegetti and meat loaf and whatever else I can think of. 

5.  Vitamins...  I've always been a big fan of Vities as my littles call them, but I've NEVER been good at taking them on a regular basis.  Vitamins always make a big difference in how I feel and my energy level, so I have to be more diligent to take my vities... 

These are just a few things that I can do to improve our health, but you have to start somewhere.  I find for myself it's better to add a new habit to one you have already established.  So, this is where I'm starting, but if my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit it's time to stop abusing it.  If I am in charge of the health and welfare of my family I better start doing a better job.  Laziness is no longer an excuse.  If I take better care of me then I will FEEL better...  God has given us an astonishing miracle in these bodies that He made.  Bodies able to detox and fight off all manner of illnesses and disease, but we have to give our bodies what they need.  I'm starting today!!!  

What about you?  Do you have any suggestions or anything that you are doing FOR YOUR HEALTH'S SAKE??? 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fear and Dread...

One of the major things that has been on my mind since my Mom passed is HEALTH.  No wonder since she died from Cancer which some would say is a curable disease, that is without chemo/radiation.  I have been convicted like never before to be a diligent guardian over my families health.   That should be pretty easy...  no more McDonald's chicken nuggets.  More fruits and veggies, less junk.  The problem that is not in my control is all of the man-made toxins that are being forced on us all the time.  Since this is out of my control I can easily become overwhelmed with FEAR AND DREAD.  What if... thoughts begin to plague me.  I don't know about you, but when I feel like my family is in danger, and I can't do anything about it I begin to feel like a caged animal...

How can you "rejoice in the Lord", or "think on things that are true and lovely" if your mind is plagued by unseen fears?  One thing I KNOW to do is pray.  When my spirit is heavy burdened I know where to go.  So, today as I was praying and crying out to the Lord I told him what I was thinking and feeling.  I told him that I felt down and not joyful.  I told him I was fearful and overwhelmed. 

Sometimes answers to pray take time, not today.  His immediate reply Psalms 34:4

"I sought the Lord, and he HEARD me, and delivered me from all my fears."

The awesome thing is that Psalms 34 tells that He hears our prayers and delivers us from fear, when you continue to read it (which I hope you will), He tells us the remedy for fear... 

vs 8 "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed (happy and at peace) is the man that trusts in HIM.
"O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is NO LACK to them that fear HIM." 

The answer to fear of man is to Fear the Lord.  The Bible tells us that GOD IS GOOD so we can trust in HIM and not fear man.  When I place my trust in  a Good God what do I have to fear.  As FDR said "We have nothing to fear, except fear itself."  The Lord knows that there can be no end to fear in our lives.  In the Old testament one of the most common phrases that God says to his people is "do not be afraid".   2 Timothy 1:7 says "For God has NOT given us a spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."   Proverbs 17:22 tells us "A merry heart does good like medicine..."  If that is true does the bible tell us that a merry heart can detox our body???  Is the key to good health a sound mind and a merry heart that rejoices in the Lord (phil 4)? 

There's alot of speculation out there that the mind has a big impact on the body.  Some would say that your thoughts can make you body sick.  If that's the case I have to be diligent to guard my mind and my thoughts.  I'm thankful that when I fall in the enemies trap of fear that I can run to the Lord in prayer and find answers in the Word of life.  Psalms tells us that "HE sent HIS WORD and it healed them of all of their diseases...  WOW...  Think about Jesus going around and healing all those different diseases.  Think of God's word as a healing balm...  If we follow after the ways of the Lord HE makes us another promise:

"If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, IF you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, FOR I AM THE LORD, WHO HEALS YOU (Exodus 15:26)

I am thankful to the Father for giving us His Son.  I am thankful to the Father for giving us His word.  I am thankful for the promises of God that are able to remove our fear and dread. 
 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can't we all just get along?

I have four children...  Four completely different children.  The oldest is a girl and then three boys.  They look different.  One has straight hair the other three have curls.  Two have dark brown eyes that are almost black, the other two have light brown eyes.  All three boys have totally different body types.  They like different things.   One LOVES cars.  The other football.  The little guy likes anything... barbies, babies, balls and cars.   Caleb loves corn, Isaiah loves tacos and pizza, Jordan likes hamburgers...  Caleb and Jordan LOVE chocolate, and Isaiah won't eat it.  

In Psalms the bible tells us that God fashions us each individually.  As a parent of 4 completely different children I can see that this is true.   We (people) are all different.  That's not news.   With differences though can come conflicts.  My children with their unique personalities and sin natures often have conflicts.  I am convinced that NOTHING is more frustrating to a parent than children fighting.  I think it's CRAZY how much they can fight about.  I think they each thrive on annoying their siblings on a regular basis.

As if that's not bad enough they can NEVER agree on anything.  If one wants to go to Chick-fila the other two want to go to McDonalds.  When I ask if they want to go for a walk to the park two says yes and the other two say they want to ride bikes out front.  When I ask if they want goldfish for snack someone ALWAYS wants something else.   If my normally hardheaded child is having a good day, my easy-going child is being tyrant...  All of this could drive a crazy person sane... 

But, watching this on a daily basis has driven home one of Christ most important messages...  John 15:12 "This is my commandment, That ye love one another as I have loved you."   Jesus told his disciples the way the world would know they were his was that they would love one another.   There is nothing worse as a parent then having your kids fuss and fight over nothing.  Surely when God sees this in the church family it breaks his heart.

It doesn't even matter to me as a parent who is right or wrong.  I expect much more out of my more mature kids than I do from the little guys.  If my 3 yr old is arguing with my 6 yr old over something he has no idea about I expect my big guy to just over look it and not argue.  I expect my 7yr old not to hit back when they have been hit.  God expects the same from us.  Proverbs tells us not to argue with a fool.  Paul says when one person celebrates a holiday and another person doesn't celebrate any that we should not make this an issue.  The Bible tells us that we all have different gifts given to us to minister to the body of Christ...  not for us to boast and definitely not to separate us.  

The family of God is full of all different and diverse personalities all designed by God.   These differences should bring glory to God, but so often we use these differences to separate us.   It doesn't matter to God who is right and who is wrong...  As a child of God our life should be marked by humility and love like Christ for our brothers and sisters.  

Instead of acting like little kids who fuss and fight about everything we need to love like Christ loved so the world will know we are HIS disciples.  Then maybe we could then "go and make disciples of all men".  Boasting only in Christ because "if HE is lifted up he will draw all men unto him".   God the Father made us different to bring glory to Him.  We are each made in His image.  Let's celebrate what makes us different instead of letting it seperate us...   In the words of the great theologian Rodney King... "Can't we all just get along?"

Friday, February 17, 2012

A God of His Word...

It's amazing how many things a person can fear...  Worry and dread steal our joy and often cause us to panic over the future.  I have recently been through one of those times that I ALWAYS dreaded...  The death of a parent.  In the past I have questioned how I would handle if one of my parents passed from this life to the next?!   Fear of the future can rob us of the peace of the present.  

As most of you know my mom has been very ill.  She went home to be with the Lord on the 13th of February.   My mom had cancer...  I know it's a dirty word.  I hate it too.  But, the funny thing about this horrible word cancer is that it gives (us) the living TIME...  Time to process the horrible prospect of a future without our loved one.  It gives us time to say the things we need to say.  It gives us perspective on what is TRULY important, like spending every minute you can with the one you will soon lose.  I am personally thankful for this TIME.  I am thankful for what this ugly cancer did to change us all and draw us closer to each other and closer to our Saviour.  I am thankful for the gift of spending the last 12 hours of my mother's life holding her hand and singing to her, reading beloved scripture that has now taken on new life...  

When we knew that my Mom was not going to get better I cried bitter tears.  IT HURTS to lose someone you love.  I cried for her.  I cried for me.  I thought of all the things we wouldn't get to do.  I said things to myself like she is too young at 52 to leave us like this.  I said things like what will I do without her.  I screamed and I yelled in my spirit.  I didn't want to give her up.  SHE IS MINE...  I told the Lord.   The thing is SHE IS NOT MINE.  She is HIS.  My mom was only on loan to me for a while.  So now I need to cherish those that are loaned to me FOR NOW. 

There are a few things that I have learned along the way...  Life is short.  Life is precious.  Life is fragile.  We are not promised tomorrow.  The people we love are only on loan for a while.  We must be prepared to release them when it is time.   The ONLY person we will ALWAYS have is JESUS.  HE is the only one who can keep his promise that HE will NEVER leave us or forsake us.   HE IS ENOUGH.

And Finally I learned that our God is a God of his word.  He will give you peace that doesn't even make sense.  He will walk with you and carry you when you are  not able to stand.  He will heal your heart if you let him.   I know this is just the beginning of my journey, but my God has been so faithful this far that I am not afraid of tomorrow.  No matter what happens in this life He will walk with me.  I will see those I love again.  Heaven is my home with my God and anyone who chooses to accept His invitation. 

There is no need to fear the future...  Don't worry about what you would do if you were in someone else's situation.  The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."  He's gonna give you the grace you need.  He's gonna give you the strength you need.   Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  He's gonna give you peace... 

There are so many promises in God's word that bring the child of God comfort.  Read it.  Read about Heaven...  How could I want her back when she is in that GLORIOUS place.  I'm going there too, so why would I want her back when I'm gonna see her soon??? 

Thank you Father for keeping your promises.  You are an AWESOME GOD.  You are my everything.  What more could I want than you?! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

This ain't a wonderful world....

So, I'm glad it's not my home. 

But here is a picture of where I will retire someday:

"I saw a NEW heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

  And I John saw the holy city, NEW Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride for her husband.

 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, BEHOLD, the tabernacle (dwelling place) of God IS WITH men, and HE will dwell with them, they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be NO MORE death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be ANY MORE pain: for the former things are passed away. 

And He that sat upon the throne said, BEHOLD, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW. And HE said to me, Write: FOR THESE WORDS ARE TRUE AND FAITHFUL. 

And He said unto me, IT IS DONE.  I AM the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.  I WILL give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the WATER OF LIFE freely.

He that overcometh shall inherit ALL things; and I WILL BE HIS GOD, and he shall be my son."

It's obvious from this passage that Jesus knew that we would have sorrow, and pain, and suffering.  I don't know what you are going through today, but God knows.  I don't know your pain, but I know mine and I am comforted every time I read these words.  Jesus knew this life was full of suffering.  Paul said to be a part of Christ you must share in His suffering.  Suffering is the best tool that God can use or allow in our lives to conform us to the image of His son, BUT GOD said that is not the end.  THERE IS JOY IN THE MORNING.  There is beauty in the ashes.  There is a beautiful vessel that comes out of the Refiners fire and when that vessel is purified there is a place waiting that exceeds our imagination. 

Father, I praise your holy name.  You are my strength, my comfort, my banner.  When I dwell on your word and your promises I can see this place is not worth holding on to.  My home is with you.  I can let go of the ones that you want to take there, because it's better there.  I can rest and have peace.  You are faithful and true and if you said it that's all I need.  Thank you for preparing a place for one who is so unworthy...  I can only Imagine!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Girlfriend let me tell you something...

Lately I've been thinking about my "girl friends".  So, I had to bring my thoughts to the computer!!! 

First of all, growing up I didn't have good relationships with girls...  I don't know if that is just natural or if it was me.  I had a bestie in middle school and I was happy, she was all I needed.   I went to a new school in high school and again I had one really close female friendship.  I was just one of those girls that HATED drama and liked hang'n with the boys more!!!  I knew that something was missing though.  I wanted to connect with other girls and just be me...  I wondered if that would ever really be possible... 

I mean if you watch any TV besides HGTV and Food network, you know we have an issue these days of females being VICIOUS!!!  Hateful, conniving, man-stealing, self-worshipping FEMALES!!!   Turn on the TV for 5 minutes and you will see that the more nurturing sex is not so nurturing these days!!!  I could REALLY go off on a tangit now, but I'll try to stay on track with what I'm saying!!!  Have a 2 minute conversation with you neighbor and you might find out what every female on your block does wrong?!  Talk to someone at church and you might hear about how she can't connect with any of the ladies at church.  LADIES it should not be so. 

I am thankful that all that may be true, BUT because of Jesus and his example we women can have wonderful, loving, supportive relationships with other woman.  There are woman out there who will love you, listen to you, pray with you, cry with you, and laugh with you.   I KNOW this to be true because God has blessed me with some of the most wonderful friendships a girl could have.  Some I see all the time and some I don't, but I KNOW if I needed anything any of them would be right there.  I KNOW they are thinking of me and lifting me up in prayer.  Some of my GF's are so busy they can't EVER pick up the phone... if they no telling what those little ones would get into...  but just knowing they are there and the kind of friends they are gives me comfort... 

So, IF you are my GF let me tell you something...  I love you.  I want you to know that you are a HUGE blessing to me and you bring comfort to my soul.  I thank God for you!!!  IT IS AN HONOR to be considered your friend!!!  Thank you all for letting me be me and loving me with all your heart!!!  YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!!

Times like these...

The Bible says "give honor to whom honor is due".  In proverbs it says "let another man praise you and not your own lips".    This post is an attempt to give honor and praise to some special people in my life.    As you know my mom is in the hospital facing a very serious situation.  This is the first time in my life that I have had to rely completely on my faith and trust in the Lord.  This is the first time I have had to look at what I believe and say is this (my faith) enough to see me through.  Do I REALLY believe if I have to let her go that we WILL meet again someday?  IS JESUS ENOUGH???  I have to say that God has been so faithful to bring me peace and comfort that HE has given me no choice...  I have to believe because He has proven himself faithful and true.  One of the ways he has shown me his faithfulness is with the people he has placed in my life.

The first person that God has been so kind and faithful to share with me is my husband.  He is a rock for me.  He listens when I need to talk.  He gives me his strong embrace when I need someone to hold me up.  His silent presence gives me courage.  He knows just when to lighten the moment with a well timed joke.  He is patient and kind.   He is the kind of husband that the world tells you doesn't exist.   I am so thankful that the Lord chose me to be his wife.  There is security in knowing that He REALLY loves me!!!

There is a very good reason that I have the world's greatest husband...  He has the most amazing MOM...  She is ALWAYS there when I need her.  My mother-n-love is my Naomi...  She is someone I can talk to and cry with.  I don't have to worry about my house being clean or my every move being examined by her.  I have heard so many horror stories about "the inlaws", but I have been so EXTRA-ordinarily blessed with the world's greatest!!!  She makes me laugh and she tells me the truth.  She treats me like a daughter and not "my sons wife"...  She is my friend in every way.   But, when it comes to needing something this is where she stands out from the rest...  She just does whatever needs to be done.  I never have to ask.  Last night when I was just too emotionally exhausted to function she took care of everything without even needing to be asked...   I love you DLG!!!  You are AMAZING and NO ONE ever lets you know how wonderful you are, but you ARE the best part of our family!!!!!  You are a HUGE blessing in my life...

In a day of Jersey Shore, DH of Hollywood, and The Bachelor you might be convinced that females cannot get along.  Reality shows have shown the worst of girl relationships just like TV has us convinced there are no good men out there...  This is such a shame.  The friendship between two woman can be one of the most rewarding relationships. I have been so blessed with the best friends.  I'm so thankful for my friend Gayla.  She is a what  the bible calls a "a virtuous woman whose value is above rubies".    There is not an area in this life that we don't connect on.  There is not a place where her wisdom has not touched my life.  Gayla you make me laugh.  You tell the truth in the most wonderful way.  You lift me up when I'm down you and you bring me back to earth when I'm full of myself.  I'm so thankful to be walking this narrow road with you.  It's rare to know that another woman loves you and genuinely celebrates your success!!!  YOU ARE A TRUE FRIEND.  Thank you for being here for me when I have needed you.  Thank you for all that you have done...  babysitting, cleaning, listening, praying...  I LOVE YOU!!!

In times like this the people who love you step up and do what needs to be done.  They PROVE their love by their actions...  I'm am so thankful.  I am so blessed.  God is so faithful and so true.  JESUS IS ENOUGH.  When the Bible says "My grace is sufficient for you.  My strength is made perfect in your weakness."  This is what it means...  When the circumstances of this life are hard to bear God sends his grace and mercy so you can make it through.  You all have been God's grace and mercy to me!!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A gift from God...

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights." James 1:17

The last two weeks have been out of the ordinary.  If you don't know I have 4 children, 2 that are home-schooled and 2 toddlers.  I also have 2 dogs that we got for Christmas (I don't know what I was thinking).   We also have a busy house most of the time with people in and out.  This is all a big job on a regular basis, but recently my mom has been in the hospital, and I want to be with her as much as I can.  That's hard to do with all this going on at our house.  I don't want to neglect my family and my home.  This is where my gift from above comes in... 

God has given me an EXTRA-ordinary friend.  She is the kind of friend that everyone needs.  She is the kind of friend that would do ANYTHING for you.  If fact other people tell her all the time I can't believe all you do for Angela.  The thing is though a friend is more than laughter and good times.  There are a lot of people who want to be around for the good times and the fun, but are no where to be found when you need someone.  There are a lot of people who want to be there to comfort you when you're down, but don't want to put themselves out to help you do anything.  I'm not talking about the friends who wish they could do something for me.  I know there are people who will read this and think I'm talking about them, but I'm not.  I know who would be here IF they could. 

The prodigal son had the kind of friends who were around for the party.  The kind that when you have lots of money and fun they hang around, but when the hard times come they are not around.  He had the kind of friends that were no where to be found when he needed them.  Those kind of friends are good for laughs and entertainment, but nothing else. 

God has been so kind to me.  He said "Trust me".  Lean not on my own understanding and He will direct my paths.  So, when I come to a crisis moment and I think what am I going to do?!  All I have to do is call my friend.


"Your own friend, and your father's friend, do not forsake; neither go into your brother's house in the day of calamity: for better is a neighbor (friend) that is near than a brother far off."  Proverbs 27:10

Friends are PRICELESS.  Friends are VALUABLE.  Friends are comforters.  Friends are helpers.  The Bible says that "a friend loves at all times".   I could write a whole other post on what LOVE is.   What LOVE is not is an emotion.  LOVE is ACTION!!!  So, whatever ACTION a person needs a friend does because they LOVE.  If they need a hug, a good cry, a laugh wonderful.... but if they need babysitting and dishwashing...  IF they need dog walking or dinner made even better...  A good friend sees a need and doesn't even have to be asked...  they JUST DO IT!!!  I may not be this kind of friend, but I am learning from one of the best what it takes to be a good friend...

FAITH MARIE... You are a GIFT from ABOVE.  I want to THANK YOU for everything you have ever done for me.  Your kindness and humility are a breath of fresh air.  In a world where everyone puts themselves FIRST, you stand out as an example of true friendship.   I thank God for you all the time.  I know being my friend has been more like a job, but I love you and I appreciate knowing that I can call on you...  I'm also thankful for your unconditional love and sweet spirit.  I LOVE YOU!!!