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You Are Not A Failure

Sailboat 1

When I was 16 I knew that I wanted to be a Physical Therapist when I “grew up”. One of my dad’s best friend’s was a PT and he allowed me to go to the clinic after school and shadow there to see what it might be like.

Before I even started college I had hours of volunteer time built up. I loved it. I felt like it was the perfect job for me and set my mind to achieving my goals.

As a Junior I was pre-accepted to the private college of my choice, located in my hometown, with scholarships. It was the college that my parents had both graduated from….everything was falling into place, perfectly

I had no doubt that this was God’s plan for my life.

My first semester of college was tough, but I worked hard and did well. Then in my 2nd semester as a Freshman I took Organic Chemistry. It was HARD and didn’t come easy. I studied and studied for my first quiz….I think I got 20 out of 25 wrong.

A complete and miserable failure.

I am sharing the rest of the story over at God-sized Dreams today – join me there won’t you?!

Original Photo Credit: Derek Keats

New Life

Flowers 1

On Thursday I turned 39.

In less than 365 days I will be 40. When I was 20, 40 seemed SOOO old! 😉 Today I would tell you that 40 is vibrant and young and wonderful….we will see how I feel about it when it actually comes though!

I have shared about my friend Karlena here before. She was my best friend and her loss in 2010 was and has been so difficult for me.  Her death left a friendship void that was heavy on my heart.

Then last year I became a part of the God-sized Dream Team. I thought I was joining a group of bloggers to help launch a book for an author I respected.

What I didn’t expect was the community that would be formed and the friendships that would flourish because of it.

There is a group of us that stay connected through FB and Voxer – Voxer is such an amazing little app – it is basically a voice messaging system…you vox a recorded message to a person or group without having to call their #.  Oh if we had only had Voxer when Karlena was alive….I would have loved that!

Flowers 2

Two women in particular and I have formed, what is, a blessing of a friendship in my life. One of daily encouragement and prayer. Christine and Gindi are both amazing, Godly, women and I can’t imagine my life without them in it.

They are a gift to me every day.

And for my birthday they sent me these beautiful flowers.

Flowers 3

While Karlena will never be “replaced”, God has filled that void in my heart for relationship with encouraging women.

The flowers that they sent to me represent new life.

The beauty Christine and Gindi both bring to my life, the color and laughter, encouragement and prayer….I just can’t say enough how blessed I am.

While we live all over the country and can’t have “coffee” together – we share life, every day.

Today I am experiencing new life, and it is beautiful – just like those flowers are.

Gindi and Christine, You ladies are a constant blessing to me. It is a honor to pray for you and do life together. Thank you not only for the flowers, but for the gift you give me each day. I thank God for you both!

The Condition of My Heart


When settlers came to America and started traveling West looking for gold many people were “fooled” by this mineral. Pyrite looks a lot like real gold but it isn’t the actual thing and is basically worthless.  So it was named “fools gold”.

Sometimes, when things look all nice and shiny on the outside of my life, I start to get lazy in the things that are important.

One of those things is time in God’s Word.

I have been participating in the Hello Mornings challenge and we recently just finished a 13 week study.  The past few weeks have been really busy here as we prepared for our vacation away and while I was reading the verses I was only doing it half-heartedly.

While we were on vacation I didn’t do a lot of praying and I basically skipped 4 mornings and didn’t even do my readings at all. I justified it because things were going really well. Dominic and I were getting along and having fun. I had this thing right??

But the condition of my heart, while maybe looking like the “real thing”, was really dark inside.

When things feel good on the surface I get a little self-righteous. I start to feel like I don’t desperately need God like I have, I put my needs before God’s needs, I put down my armor because I feel like I have the enemy beat and I am safe.

Funny how this past week we read these verses in Ephesians. Sad that I read them, but didn’t apply them to my own life.

Ephesians 6: 10-18

10 Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. 11 Put on the full armor of God to protect yourselves from the devil and his evil schemes. 12 We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places.

13 And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground. 14 Yes, stand—truth banded around your waist, righteousness as your chest plate, 15 and feet protected in preparation to proclaim the good news of peace. 16 Don’t forget to raise the shield of faith above all else, so you will be able to extinguish flaming spears hurled at you from the wicked one. 17 Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray always. Pray in the Spirit. Pray about everything in every way you know how! And keeping all this in mind, pray on behalf of God’s people. Keep on praying feverishly, and be on the lookout until evil has been stayed.

I believe in the presence of the enemy in this world. I have seen in my own life the times we have been under attack. When we are doing well, when we are making right choices and putting others needs before our own…we are a threat and the enemy will attack with full on vengeance.

And he attacks me at where he knows I am the most weak.

So here I am, after a week of fun with Dominic, and when we find ourselves back in the “reality” of work and family life, I start to let the little things annoy me.

We all have things that irritate us and most of the time I can let it go. When the condition of my heart is well, it is easy.

When I have stopped reading the Bible, stopped praying continuously, I start to hear those things that bother me louder and louder and my response to them changes.

So I found myself seeing only negative when my entire life is surrounded with the evidence of the positive.

And for a day I engaged in the enemy’s attack, allowing myself to behave in a self righteous way and I turned on Dominic. And in a way that is most damaging……with my words.  I said hurtful things to him because I was angry with myself and a mistake I had made. I wanted someone else to blame because I don’t own up to responsibility well. He was an easy target and he was the victim of my darts.

Words have a lasting impact.

I say things in “the moment” and don’t consider the long lasting impact or cost.

Have you found yourself there as well??

I messaged a few of my girlfriends and shared how ugly I had let myself be and that it hurt him….and now in a day of silence, because I wasn’t willing to own up to my part, we had gone from happy to hurting.

The disconect was real and it isn’t a fun place to be.

And I had caused it.

In my selfishness, I had placed a ugly strain on our marriage.

One of my girlfriends responded about having been there…and how these situations can reveal the condition of our hearts.

Yes that was it…..the condition of my heart was not that of gold. It isn’t easy to admit that I allowed myself to get to that point…again. But here I was.

I had not put on the full armor of God, not stayed alert and the enemy had attacked and I was an easy target. Oh me who has it all together who wants to look pretty on the outside, this Christian example! Ha!

So I do the only thing I know how to do….I run back to the Word. I place those truths in my heart and I pray. I ask for forgiveness and I pray for healing of the hurts I have caused with my words.

I don’t know where you find yourself this morning. Maybe you have hurt someone with your words, maybe you have felt the enemy’s attacks and have justified your behavior like I did.  There is One thing that will get the condition of your heart back into the right place.

That is Jesus.

Run to Him, read God’s Word and put on that armor because the attacks are real and they are many. Be fully prepared to stand your ground and know that if you are in the Word and praying – God IS with you.

I am standing with you there today friends….

A Few Minor Changes

There are going to be a few changes here at The Riches of His Love….

Let me explain.

I started blogging on my other blog The Smith Family Journey in 2008 after a miscarriage, one that I wasn’t dealing well with and I used writing as a way to heal. Then I started posting updates about my family and it became a little online journal.  I didn’t have time to scrapbook and my blog allowed me the opportunity to post pictures and make memories for my family.

Every once and awhile I would post a review or a story about my faith walk.  Then last November when I was asked to be a part of the God Sized Dream Team I felt I needed a space that could be used just for my “faith stories”. And in December this blog was born!

I have had a hard time keeping up with 2 blogs over the past 11 months and my family blog has taken the worst of the neglect.  I have decided to stop posting there (for now) and make this space here my “home”.

That means that not only will I share stories about me here, I may from time to time share about my family updates as well.  I will also be doing some reviews and giveaways in the coming months as I have partnered with a publishing company that has lots of Christian books, movies etc. available for review.  I promise that anything I share is something I believe in and would feel comfortable sharing with my little children.  I also promise that this space won’t be overfilled with review posts.

Since 2008 I have made less than $100 in “blogging income”.  That is NOT why I blog! 🙂 I have signed up with several affiliate sites in the past and just got tired of having to try so hard to push a product for an $0.08 payout! 😉  So at this time there won’t be a lot of that here. But it is always fun to get something free for review – so that is likely the most of what I will share.

Finally as I mentioned before I am making a commitment here to share an “Impact Opportunity” with you around the first of each month.  I believe strongly in giving back and there are so many organizations and people that could use our help. I know you will be blessed by them as well

So if you have been with me awhile — I hope you will stay in spite of these changes. And if you are new here – Welcome!!  My family is one of the biggest reasons I have this space to begin with so I think it will be a good fit to combine the two spaces into one home.

Five Minute Friday – Ordinary


Linking up with Lisa Jo again this week to participate in Five Minute Friday.

Today’s word is ORDINARY– ready, set go –


Sometimes I forget to stop and see it.

The beauty in the ordinary all around me.

My kids recognize it without even thinking about it. My head seems so clouded with stress and fear, anxiety and worry about all I need to do in the little time I have in a day. I don’t stop to see the beauty around me.

We were having family pictures taken and as we were posing a dragon fly landed on Dominic’s knee.  The kids got all excited and everything stopped so that they could look at it.

What’s even better is that our photographer Heather took pictures of it!

She saw the beauty in the ordinary too.

As I look at this picture I can see it.

I can remember how excited the kids were, especially the younger 2. How Isaac wanted to capture his own picture, how they all stopped to see the beauty in the ordinary.

It is all around us. As I type I can see glimpses of the trees swaying in the breeze and the colors starting to change in the sky as the sun starts to rise.

If we are open to seeing it, what once seemed ordinary, is amazing and beautiful.

Are you looking for it??


Getting Ready for Allume – Things My Roomies Need to Know!


In just 10 short weeks I will be stepping out of my comfort zone and flying (all by myself) to Greenville, SC to attend a blogging conference called Allume. So what the heck is this all about anyways right?? Well in their words “Our goal at Allume is to minister to the woman, the blogger, the story teller. We want to love well, encourage, and spur women on to shine the Light that lives within them. We want to serve you in ways that cultivate the Light of Christ in you, help you expand your influence, use your influence well (in your home, your community, or around the world) and encourage you with stories of those who are living out that Light.”

So I am excitedly anticipating this trip and meeting some wonderful friends IRL for the first time and learning how to be a more effective light for Christ in this space here.

One of the women attending Laura, created a fun link up for us to share some things that our roommates should know about us before we go.  Since many of us are sharing rooms with people we haven’t ever met in real life before – I thought this would be fun…so here we go!

1) I am totally a morning person. Like up with my first alarm ready for the day, kind of girl. But will be very quiet for those of you who aren’t!

2) I have longer, curly and often times (in my opinion) unmanageable hair…so I like to shower early so I have enough time to let it dry etc.

3) I am NOT a coffee drinker. But I will drink hot chocolate and just hang with you as you drink yours! 🙂

4) I am already nervous about what I need to pack. Afraid to pack the wrong thing, or too little or too much. I worry about silly things and this is one of them.

5) I don’t have a “smart” phone. I may be the last blogger on the planet NOT to have one. I may have to change that before October! 😉

6) I get nervous speaking in front of people and making small talk. Once a conversation is started I can join in…but I always feel awkward starting a conversation.

7)  I am worried that I won’t remember people’s names, faces etc. I am considering printing pics off of FB for those of you I really want to connect with…but if I don’t recognize you please don’t take it personally…I am just bad at that kind of stuff!

8) This is the first time I have ever done something like this so I am intimated by just about everything. I am an introvert by nature and shy – but once I get to know you I will come out of my shell!

9) I decided to come an evening early so will be there on Wednesday and helping with “dressing” the rooms and decorating etc. I am super excited about this part!!

10) I really just want to be filled this weekend. I pray that I learn a lot, but also see a better direction that God has for me and this space and of course my hope is to develop the friendships that have started with so many of you! I anticipate that there will be little sleep, lots of laughs and maybe even some tears but I know it is going to be worth it!!

Are you coming to Allume? What is your biggest fear about the weekend?!

Embracing the Chaos

So how lucky am I that for 2 days in a row I have some beautiful ladies posting here?!?! Mel is my new BFF (she may not know it yet!) 😉 And we are going to be newbie roomies at Allume and we are both super excited about that!! Anyways Mel has some amazing stories to share because she lived for a time in Indonesia…so I asked if she would share a story with us today and you are in for a treat!!

My husband and I spent five years (2005-2010) living and teaching in Indonesia.

From different foods and climate to a completely new mindset regarding normal, life there was definitely a shift from what we had grown accustomed to in the U.S.

As far as acclimating, I think we did ok…we liked most of the food. (Most, not all.) 🙂

I was all about warm weather and no snow and the chance to have a tan year-round.

And, really, living in the tropics with real palm trees? Something I’d always wanted to do.

Yep, you can tell I’m a total Midwest girl, just from those details.

But the one thing that continually threw me for a loop was the traffic.

I can’t describe it to you.

I can show you pictures…

Like this.


Or this.


Or even this.


But to give you an accurate account of the crazy it was, I’d need to drop you into the middle of the chaos.

I had said, almost from the first day we moved there, that I would learn to drive a motorbike in the city.

In the chaos.

I was determined and adamant to conquer it all.

I wanted independence and the chance to explore. (And I mostly wanted the freedom to go get coffee when I wanted it. Sort of an addict here. ;))

So it was no surprise to anyone that within a month or so of being there, we purchased our first motorbike. (It was orange, and this isn’t necessary information…I just think it’s awesome that we had an orange bike.) 🙂

My husband…well, he’s the guy. He drove it, and he drove it without crashing into carts and people and cars and buses and vans . (And even horses, but only on Sundays.)

I Drove it right into a bush within the first week of having it. 🙂

After that little incident, I was content for the next year or so with riding on the back with my hubby at the handlebars and letting him conquer the crazy.

But, eventually, I knew I’d need to find the courage to embrace the chaos and just drive.

We went out one random day after school and bought me a bike.

It was cute, it was pink, and most importantly, it was automatic. (read: easy to drive)

I’d had this theory that if we spent money, I’d be more determined to follow through with actually driving in the city.

For the first week, I focused on driving around our neighborhood and area, avoiding the major roads (and also avoiding those silly bushes that liked to jump out in front of me).

But after about a week, my husband decided it was time.


Time to get out in the middle of it all and Just. Drive.

I was so nervous that my hands were shaking, even as I strapped on my helmet. I took off with my hubby following on his bike. As I cautiously weaved my way in and out of the what-seemed-like-millions around me, I realized something in between the whispering, I can do this through Him. He gives me strength, about a hundred times.

There was chaos around me…lots of it, and that part didn’t surprise me.

But being in the middle of it, I only had to worry about what I could see, about what was close to me. Focusing on all that was going on fifty meters in front of me would only remove my focus from where it needed to be.

I had to pay attention to what was right in front of me.

I finished that drive, one that took me to a major shopping area (with a Starbucks…hallelujah!) and back home again with no major incidents.

It really wasn’t that bad…in fact, I might even use the word enjoyable to describe it.

And that drive gave me the confidence to keep driving all over town.

There were definitely a few incidents over the years with me behind the handlebars of that little pink-mobile…mostly bumping mirrors on cars or cutting it a little too close with other drivers, but learning to drive in Bandung ended up being such a good thing.

Oh, and there were multitudes of lessons…on patience and patience and more patience, on bravery, on trust…and on dealing with chaos.

Too often in life, I let myself become weighed down with all that swirls around me. I look at the big picture and throw up my hands in the air…How can I possibly deal with all of this?

The truth is that sometimes we have to embrace the chaos of life and just keep going, dealing with what we can see, what’s within reach, and forgetting about the rest of it.

And even in the middle of chaos, I often find that it’s never as bad as I think it’s going to be.

Plus, as I learned during that first bike drive several years ago, I can do all things through Him because He does give me strength.


Mel is a Follower of her Father. Wife to Tobin. Mommy to Mae. Friend. Writer. Dreamer. Throw in some coffee, chocolate, running, music, and that’s describes her. Blogging at A Barefoot Life , Mel shares her heart for her family and finds beauty in the little things.

Make Me Fearless, Lord! – Guest Post

Friends you are in for a treat. A fellow God-Sized Dreamer and beautiful new friend Alecia, has so graciously offered to post for me today. I have been overwhelmingly busy recently and writing has taken a back seat – but I wanted to keep filling this space with encouragement and Alecia does just that. I know you will be blessed by her post!!

I am starting to see a trend. When I ask God to grant me something, he makes me work for it. Like when I was new parent and desperately wanted/needed patience with my strong willed daughter, he didn’t make her any less strong willed. On the contrary, he seemed to up the ante in the form of asthma attacks night upon sleepless night. My girl was not only strong willed and feisty, but she was now tired and sick…yay!

Can you picture it? Sleepy momma on a verge of a nervous breakdown because she didn’t have any sleep, literally holding her toddler in a vice grip with one hand and the other opening her little girls mouth while simultaneously shoving a dropper full of medicine down her little red throat because her daughter vehemently hates taking medicine of any kind.

You can’t tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor! And you can’t tell me he doesn’t answer prayers. Those moments that I thought were going to break me (and trust me there were many) were the moments that made me stronger and made me realize that I really was growing into a more patient version of myself even if it didn’t feel like it at the time.

I was hoping he would just blast down doses of patience as I needed it, but that never seems to happen. It didn’t stop me from begging for it though.

Now here I am again asking God for something else, to make me fearless.

I was hoping that a few fearless steps of saying yes to things would cure this, but for some reason for me, it can’t be that easy. I’ve found myself in the middle of a faith crisis here. Fearless is causing me lots of trouble. I’m talking chest hurting, let me just stay in bed, I give up type of trouble.

I feel overwhelmed and overpowered and I’m not sure what God is doing and why it has to be this way.

I’m anxious and finding it hard to be still.

But maybe that’s the point. I want to rush ahead and get things over with and he’s pulling back the reigns and saying “Hold on there; let’s make this a lesson you won’t soon forget. Let’s take our time and dig deep, get to the root of what is causing this fear in the first place.”

So, I’m slowing down, and being intentional about being still and taking it one day at a time. I’m choosing to trust him over my fears, and whatever my feelings are saying. Fearless verses are popping up everywhere, a women’s retreat at my new church is even having a fearless women’s conference. Coincidence? I think not.

God is here! He doesn’t want to just zap me with courage and that be the end of it. He wants to walk me through this! He is El Roi, the God that sees me. He knows me, He loves me, and He wants to walk me through this valley.

If I allow God to teach me, I feel like I will for once have power over the fear that is holding me back.

Friends, I’m not sure what is holding you back today, but I want to encourage you to take hold and not let go. If you need to wrestle it out then do it. God can take it. His ways may not be ours but the end result will be so much better than we could have ever hoped or imagined.

I’m happy to report that my little girl who once hated medicine is now 12 years old and takes it without any arm wrestling involved. We may have different battles now, but I’m learning that those things in our life that we think we can’t handle are there to teach us that we can. With God we really can do ALL things!

I may still be dealing with fear, but I’m not where I was when I started. I’ve grown more confident in who I am and whose I am. And that’s a great first step.

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful” John 14:27

Alecia blogs over at There’s Something Different at She is a Southerner by birth (and grace) and gypsy by marriage (she’s moved 7 times in the last 12 years).  She writes to encourage Christians to live differently because she knows that once you’ve been changed by Christ
you are different.  She claims “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” Phil 4:13, daily. You can connect with her here Twitter and Facebook

A Heart Like Hannah’s

I recently read the story of Hannah in the Bible. 1 Samuel 1:1-28.

It really is a beautiful story and I have been thinking about what it would be like to have a heart like Hannah’s.

In 1 Samuel we read about Elkanah who has 2 wives. One, Peninnah, “who had given him sons and daughters” and Hannah who was childless.

Can you imagine Hannah’s hurt? It would be difficult enough “sharing” a husband, but then being unable to get pregnant while the other wife seems to be an endless supplier of children.

I have shared before that we had struggles with infertility and there were times that we were trying month after month with no “result”. I had some women in my life at that time that got pregnant either by accident or literally on their “first try”.  It was something I shouldn’t have taken personally, but honestly at the time I felt like they got pregnant “at” me. (I never said I didn’t have issues!) 🙂

So I can empathize with how Hannah must have felt here and understand that her feelings were probably magnified even more seeing the success that wife #2 was having.

Elkanah was a faithful man and every year he would go and offer sacrifices at Shiloh. And he loved Hannah offering her a double portion of the sacrificial meat over his other wife. (May I just say that I love that about this man….how he loves Hannah so much,even in spite of her inability to bear him a child)

Maybe Peninnah is jealous about this….we don’t really know, but what we do know is that she tormented Hannah. Verse 6 says “Peninnah used to infuriate Hannah until Hannah trembled with irritation because the Eternal had not given Hannah children.”

Talk about adding salt to the wound. Hannah doesn’t need anyone to point out the obvious here and yet Peninnah pushes that button, year after year. So much so that Hannah won’t eat.

One day Hannah goes and “presented herself before the Lord”. In Verse 11 we hear Hannah’s prayer. “Eternal One, Commander of heavenly armies, if only You will look down at the misery of Your servant and remember me—oh, don’t forget me!—and give Your servant a son, then I promise I will devote the boy to Your service as a Nazirite all the days of his life. [He will never touch wine or other strong drink,][a] and no razor will ever cut his hair.”

Haven’t we all been there? Desperate and crying out to God, maybe even making promises in return for what we are asking??

The priest Eli hears Hannah and thinks she is drunk because he sees her lips moving but doesn’t hear anything. (Does this strike you just the tiniest bit funny too??) and he goes to her and tells her to basically stop making a fool of herself!

But Hannah has such a humble response…. Verse 15: “My lord, I am not drunk on wine or any strong drink; I am just a woman with a wounded spirit. I have been pouring out the pain in my soul before the Eternal One. 16 Please don’t consider your servant some worthless woman just because I have been speaking for so long out of worry and exasperation.”

A woman with a wounded spirit, pouring out her soul and pain to the Eternal One.

Have you ever found yourself here friend? I have.

Eli tells her to stop worrying and may God fulfill her request and Hannah’s spirits are lifted.

Here’s where the story gets even better!!

Verse 19: “The next morning, they rose early to worship the Eternal One. Then they went back to their home at Ramah, and Elkanah slept with Hannah his wife. The Eternal remembered her petition; and in the new year, Hannah became pregnant. When her son was born, she named him Samuel, which means “His name is El (God),” because she said, I asked the Eternal One for him.”

God heard her request and she is pregnant. I can imagine the joy in her heart!! So my first thought when I had gotten this far in the story was did she follow through with her promise?

The year goes by and it is time to go again to Shiloh to offer sacrifices but Hannah stays behind with Samuel. She tells her husband “When the child can eat solid food, I will bring him so that he can appear in the presence of the Eternal One and remain there continually.”

Did you catch that? Remain there continually!! Here is a woman tormented because she was unable to bear children and for years remained barren. God answers her prayers and she is faithful…but her faith will cost her something won’t it?

Can you imagine giving up your finally, firstborn son to a priest to be raised in the presence of God? An honor yes…but her mother’s heart must have hurt a little having to let him go.

And it says that once Samuel was weaned she brought him to the priest Eli and says “My lord, I swear I am the woman who was praying to the Eternal One in front of you. 27 It was this child I prayed for, and the Eternal has indeed granted me the petition I made.28 So, as I vowed, I will lend him back to the Eternal. For as long as he lives, let him serve our Eternal One. And she left Samuel there with Eli to serve the Eternal One.”

And she left Samuel there….

I am just amazed at Hannah’s faith and her choice to honor God, because He honored her request. Even if it hurt her to let her son go…she made the choice to “give back” the gift that was God’s in the first place.

Oh how I want to have a heart like Hannah’s. To have faith in spite of many difficult seasons. To believe that God can and will honor a faithful request and then to continue to honor Him by letting go of what is most important for a bigger purpose.

Without getting into all of it, here is a foreshadowing of Samuel’s future….1 Samuel 4:1 “And all of Israel was influenced by Samuel’s words.” Oh and Hannah?? God continued to be faithful to her as well and she gave birth to 3 sons and 2 daughters!

Imagine how things might have been different for Hannah, for the nation of Israel had Hannah not been faithful? These passages are encouragement to me to stay the course and to faithfully follow what God is asking of me….even if it is hard, because there may be a greater purpose or plan that isn’t revealed to me yet.

I don’t know what “season” you find yourself in tonight – but my prayer is that you too will seek to have Hannah’s servant heart, to continue to bring your requests to God and to be willing to stay the course. I am praying this for each of you!!