Worship, Create, Dream

Be free to Worship God. Create with abandonement because He is the Creator. Let's discover our Dreams together.


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RELAX AND DRINK FROM MY REFRESHING POOL!

Day Eight

You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.

Ps. 23:2 MSG

    Make space for your soul.












Relax in
simple beauty.

͟͟

Fresh water to refresh me.

 MY LIFE IS IN CHAOS!

  As you read the verse, are you at a place in your life where these words really make absolutely no sense? For example: chronic pain surrounds your every waking moment, or maybe dear friends, possibly close relatives have prayed for healing concerning physical attacks on their bodies with no release in sight, or maybe a strange ailment takes you from doctor to doctor and they cannot give you a direction. Urgent questions with no answers.

Yes there is turmoil.
Yes there is beauty.

  Do you feel as though you have been quite diligent with your daily scripture intake, with ALL OF ITS MANY WORDS, but lately, that is what they have become- MERE WORDS. ☹   It is so ok to be honest. God loves you. God deals better with honesty than with fake obedience.

With the turbulence of the world, lies from the enemy and the void offered from empty sources, your soul is tired. The protective measures you put up as a way to handle life may be the very barrier keeping God’s intimate gentle breath at bay. God’s deep love will sooth your soul.

Gentle, beauty reaching out past the ugliness.

You cannot escape a few thorns while enjoying the beauty of a rose. Pain comes with beauty. God does not demand you to experience the pain on you own. The CREATOR of the universe has never abandoned you, even in times when you feel abandoned. His Hand is always reaching out.

In these present uncertainties, dare to picture His arms holding you in a peaceful meadow next to a cool stream.

A David Psalm

23 1-3 God, my shepherd!

    I don’t need a thing.

You have bedded me down in lush meadows,

    you find me quiet pools to drink from.

True to your word,

    you let me catch my breath

    and send me in the right direction.

Portions of A David Psalm

  How do you feel?

Paint, draw, or write a story or poem, responding to the chaos in your present soul. As creatives, this is the gift we can use to connect with the pain in our heart. Try to make physical, the invisible pain. Use it as a sacrifice of praise. Be Bold! Be Daring!

Offer this gift to God. Ask God to bring you to an honest quiet place.

  Turn off the outside noise. Listen to the One who really loves you!

RECEIVE God’s Words for you today, REFLECT upon God’s Heart for you, RESPOND to what God is sharing with you.

Be still! Receive!

If there is space today, create what you received in response to your honest quiet time with God. Share here or on my Facebook page if you wish. We are all on this journey together.









Be

Free

To

Worship

As

You

Were

Created!

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Why Don’t I Feel Better?

I am going to bring you into one of my thought processes. The day it self way quite delightful. The weather was great (for Duluth).


Sunny,

Warm,

Gentle Breeze.

This made my walk an enjoyable part of my spiritual discipline as I prayed. After I returned home, I prepared a cup of coffee, got my book, journal and went to the deck. I was going to continue seeking God’s heart for mine. Sounds as though it is a time to soothe one’s soul.

Enjoying a nice cup of coffee in the morning.

Please don’t get the idea I am a “super Christian” with a great spiritual discipline all packed down and this post will give you hints as to how to begin your day all neat and tidy before you head off to your creativity. I want to bring you into more of who I am so you will understand my writing. (also don’t wait for the super Christian part. That is not happening. 🙂 )

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Today, I am telling you the BEST PLANS do not always make the emotional facts. I am a TYPE Four on the Enneagram. I did not understand why my internals were not lining up with the externals. I did not feel as though everything was working together for good for me. ( even though I do love the Lord. Roman 8:28)

I was still contemplating the information I gathered from the Does God Really Love Me? series we just finished from Easter Sunday. ( I am His Adopted Child, I am Truly Loved, I am His Masterpiece, God actually enjoys Loving Me and spending time with me). I was searching His path and seeking His heart for me. What is next Papa? Looking to not from.

What is the around the bend?

You would think this wonder and depth and anticipation would bring an exciting way for me to greet the rest of that day. WRONG!!!

This is more of how I felt inside. There may be a path, but all I could see was blurry broken woods.

Even though all of these externals lined into what could have blossomed into a great day, I did not FEEL great.

WHY?

Was I bad? Did I miss something? Was my walk with Jesus on a downward spiral after such a fantastic experience?

I can have strong emotional pulls. Life may seem very good when things are going in a nice direction. Not so hot when heading the other way. Even if nothing is really going wrong I may have emotions questioning my worth, creativity, am I even loved?. It is good to be aware when those turmoils start churning inside of me. My best response is not to deny them or shame myself in them. Rather, recognize they are there and go to God with them. The wonderful, accepting love of the Father will not judge, condemn or criticize those feelings. As I was honest with Him, I could receive His gentle love. My ears were open to hearing His words to me “I Understand”.

Creatives, spend time with God each day to get His perspective concerning you. The deeper you know Him, your eyes will know creativity in a deeper way. He knows you. He made you. God knows the best way to speak His heart through the art He has given you.

GOD REALLY LOVES ME! GOD REALLY LOVES YO

It was after I spent time being honest with God, in my feelings, my emptiness, my searching, with no expectations that I needed to respond in a certain way to receive His approval, I was able to go back to the bible verse and take in the whole blessing for me.

Sit, RECEIVE, REFLECT AND RESPOND (however your creative genre takes you) to this gift.



Romans 8:28
We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.

Taken from THE VOICE

God is protecting me and always walking with me? How do you feel?

BE

FREE

TO’

WORSHIP

AS

YOU

WERE

CREATED!



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It is the day/or week after EASTER. NOW WHAT?

This is what it looked like on Monday morning after Easter Sunday. Not filled with beauty
and wonder. How did you greet your day?

.

I know it would be so nice to see flowers starting in their bloom, crocus in a gorgeous purple, and the sun streaking in the sky with fantastic colors.

Jesus is Risen! Hallelujah!

All of that is absolutely true. What happens, when the next day after Easter starts out icky? What happens when life seems to go back to the “same old same old” in the following days, the following weeks? The challenge of fasting is no longer drawing you into a gentle secret hiding place. Abstaining from those regular Netflix programs are no longer required and therefore finding that holy ground for prayer is now more elusive. There is not a regular meditation to feast upon for your daily bread.

MY good friend Tammy Morton brought up a question. We were discussing the final material from the Does God Really Love Me? series. In a few days we would experience Good Friday and then Celebrate Easter. We just spent the last 40 to 50 days fasting or abstaining from something, to connect with God. What were we going to do after Easter? Her question was:

What if instead of fasting from something, we fast to ‘in taking on a new behavior’?

Allow Jesus to open this brand new path in you. Jesus spent forty days visiting with the apostles and others after the Resurrection for a purpose. He wanted to go deeper, show them even more of who He was. Jesus used that time to speak truth to the ones open to see and hear. There were no boundaries to block Him. Jesus was no longer in the tomb. He was Alive.

JESUS IS ALIVE

We are a few days (or more) past Easter Sunday. We experienced the pain of His death and rejoiced in the reality of His Resurrection. Where is Jesus with you today? How is the fact that He is the Risen Savior affecting your creativity? Your life? What does it mean to no longer be bound by the lies of the enemy?

God keeps His promises.

What is the New Behavior God is drawing you to? As you go deeper in Him and draw closer to Him how will that bring out the person you are created to be? Discover that identity!

Is that what is next for you?

BE

FREE

To

WORSHIP

AS

You

Were

CREATED!


					
		
	


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God’s Word Vaults

¹That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset,Melting ice, scorching deserts,warming hearts to faith. – Psalm 19:6 MSG

 

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During this present Lenten season, our church is going through a workbook series as a whole – DOES GOD REALLY LOVE YOU?¹ It is a very intense  walk giving us an opportunity to bring the Word of God into the reality  of  who we are. Can we embrace our true identity?  God is reaching out for intimacy with His children.

Can you answer this question in quiet peace? “Does God Even Like Me?”

When we read the scriptures, and we are quite mandatory about it, the accomplishment can become more of a “to do” activity.  Cross it off your list and get to the next activity for the day.  If you  read in that fashion, it is very difficult to answer the question “Does God Really Love Me”? because the only things brought away from the text are 1. what to do or 2. what not to do.

 Do you remember a time you even read the bible to gain an intimate connection to His love being offered? Was there a sweet aroma, a gentle touch of His acceptance.?

This is a two part fictional adaptation of the WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY (John 8 1-11) Read slowly. What character attracts you the most? The woman? An observer? An accuser?


The night  was calm and  sweet. Peacefully lying in the strong arms of a man who showed her tenderness, she felt safe. This man seemed — different.   Not like others before with their ugly breath, horrid eyes and single desire.

She longed to be delivered from the gross life previously surrounding her nights. Days no longer existed. Sunlight brought no joy. Shame labelled all  her clothing.

This man came to her secretly, but gently. The past few nights brought a delightful-sens.  Could he actually feel something for her? Did she have more purpose than that of a woman’s body?

                                       Restful sleep came upon her.

  Suddenly!                                  

 Without warning, temple guards crashed into the house. Sun’s rays peeled through the window. Fear consumed her body although she felt he would be near for protection.   She reached over to feel the mat’s other side.

It was empty!

With anxious questions, she thought,   “ Why are the sheets disheveled and the bed  still warm? He was just here.  Where was he?”

Looking around,  no one was in sight to stand between her and these angry, hateful men.

Instinctively she grabbed the bedclothes as she was yanked from the room. In pain and disillusionment, tears running down her cheeks, she faced the self-righteous crowd in the courtyard.

The  hideous mockery swirled in rude contrast to the peaceful quiet night she just experienced. Inside she hoped her lover would still come to her rescue. Glaring rays from the sun. Noise. Confusion.

“Surely he won’t allow the legal punishment to be carried out against me.”

Clutching the sheets  to cover her shame, she was dropped  before the temple leaders. In the mental, emotional, turmoil, she could make out the out the forms of two men.  Her life would be changed forever by the  actions of each.

One of the two men standing in the crowd she recognized from last night.   Will he speak up in her defense? Will he express concern? Will he show the tender care his words and actions gave in the evenings before.? Their eyes met. He quickly turned away.

The chaotic noise  from the crowd slowly faded away.  More agony gripped her as she realized the man who turned his gaze was the son of the Pharisee Leader. Standing next to her loudest accuser was the one she had given her very soul the nights before.

“Please God,  “ she cried silently to heaven, ” if You exist, may the first rock finish me.  The pain in my heart has killed me already. “

“What is taking so long?  Waiting for the discussion is far  worse than the sentence itself.”

 

4“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.Now what do you say?”

                                                                                                    John 8:4 NIV

Who was  this other man?  His eyes were kind. His face was gentle. There was truth all around Him.  He stood and looked at her so differently than any other  man.

“This Teacher can’t come closer to me. He knows what I am. He will become unclean.   Who is He?”

Bending over very quietly, He scribbled in the sand.

The Pharisees continued their pestering questions.  On and On!!  Finally the Man stopped His scribbling. Without anger or malice, He stood up and proposed a simple statement:

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”

                                                                                                     John 8:7 NIV

He returned to the ground and his scribbling.

The seconds felt like hours as she shook beneath her cloth protection, waiting for the first rock. The only sounds were the swish of His finger on the sand and the heavy breathing of men.

THUD! THUD! THUD!

Rocks were slowly falling around her. Feet shuffled  away.

Angrily looking around, the Chief Pharisee  watched  the rest of the accusers shake their heads and drop rocks.  Grabbing his robe to keep his cleanliness intact,  the loudest accuser turned to leave the scene. With an angry grunt, and eyes blazing, he demanded his son to follow.

The young man responded. As his eyes met hers, there was no love, no concern, no care. Just a look. Hearing another urgent word  from his father, the son walked.

Left alone, she couldn’t comprehend what took  place?

End  of part one!

 

Do you walk through life in fear and loneliness with the conclusion EVERYONE is out to get you?  This woman’s life was in constant fear. Her life was crippled by the choices she made. Looked for love in all the wrong places. Even when thinking she found it, it was not “well formed love

 

 

 

There is no room 2

 

God’s love does not work in that fashion.

That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset, Melting ice, scorching deserts,warming hearts to faith. – Psalm 19:6

 

 

 

BE

FREE

TO

WORSHIP

AS

YOU

WERE

CREATED!

1 Reference is to book used by Duluth Vineyard Church https://www.facebook.com/theduluthvineyardchurch/ (Does God Really Love Me?) Vineyard Resourses 2016.


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CAN YOU CELEBRATE WHEN YOU CAN’T WRITE?

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Fluffy clouds, Warm sunshine. The children are napping or possibly in school. Maybe there are no children at home. Maybe you are at an age when as an empty nester, the house seems quieter and your time is more your own.  A slight breeze is wafting through an open window.  Your favorite beverage is sitting next to you on an uncluttered stand. The gentle aroma of a sweet cinnamon candle is slowly burning.   Your computer is open or the blank sheet is laying bare, ready for the next fantastic creative notion to flow and ————

Enjoy the day outdoorsimg_3295

          WHAT HAPPENED?

NOTHING!

That’s right. You look at your page or screen with a blank stare on your face. Picture one of these:

  • A scrunched nose with eyes staring into the sky looking for inspiration.
  • Pursed lips with eyes roaming back and forth as if searching the room for a clue.
  • The pen tapping on the empty page for a secret code you are trying to understand.
  • A cocked head leaning on a raised hand gazing past the windows, hoping a word will pop into your head getting the creation on a role.

Ah the life of a writer!

Why do we put ourselves through this type of endeavor over and over?  Isn’t there an activity, a pastime to keep us occupied which would be less agonizing, frustrating?

Possibly.

 As a writer, there is something inside which says we are to at least try to put pen to paper, tap words on the screen. It is our duty. An inner calling. We must express.

Does agony rise up when all is prepared and there is absolutely nothing inside to flow.  An emotional trauma has sideswiped the words right out of you. Can there be other unknown reasons  your regular word stream has met a dam?

You have crashed and burned with nothing coming out.

Can you still celebrate when you can’t write?

This is the time to be part of a writer’s small group. I belong to two. One is a small group at our church called the :

  Duluth Vineyard Writers’ Studio

I also belong to an online writer’s group :  hope writers¹

 

There is a difference between only reading about a situation and being surrounded by people with a similar vision wanting to help me succeed.  The main goal in the two group I belong to is to create and help each other use the gifts God has put inside us.

Even though both groups have a different approach,  if there are  problems and the words for creating will not come, the doors to the inner barrier are gently met,  with support and encouragement and if wanted, prayer.

Can you celebrate in who you are even when no words come to the surface?

No words are coming!  I claim to be a writer!  If I cannot write, who am I?

As a Type 4 in the Enneagram, I am given to a wide range of emotions.   Can I celebrate who I am as a Child of God when words are not coming to the surface?  Type 4’s have a  Primary fear of being unnoticed.2  If the words do not flow, or the outcome does not reach an expected bar,  can I still celebrate in who I am?  If I have nothing to write, what will I have to post?  If I don’t post, how will I get read? If I don’t get read, I will be unnoticed. A vicious cycle.

To add to the emotional battle there can be SHAME. As a Christian writer, there seems to be this idea stating :

I have to have it all together.  I am the author people are reading and looking to for guidance.

If there are no words, there must be something wrong with me. I am not doing what I am suppose to, but who can I tell?  😦

Writing is truly a community effort.  If these little lies, (yes, the previous statements are lies) make so much noise yelling at how bad a writer I am, I also hear the words ” you are a  bad person”.  I am surrounded by friends who know me  I  have been really honest in my fear. I  am secure enough to share my dreams. They in turn are authentic with  support and guidance and prayer in my time of uncertainty.  It is the care I need keep me going in a healthy manner.

These are the words I hear and  can celebrate:

You are  a Child of God- He made you  a Creator.

              You are a Child of God- He made up a Writer.

                             You are a Child of God.

                                     Can you celebrate in you when you cannot write?

Be free to create.

Reading and researching gives helpful tools on this journey. Realizing experienced authors go through the same pain and frustration you are going through. It can help you feel less isolated in your battle.  (here is a list of my personal favorite right now: Emily Freeman, Luci Shaw, Ann Voskamp, Madeliene L’Engle and Anne Lamott).

Do not make your writing a Lone Ranger affair. There are many personal ways of support to help you celebrate in you when you can’t find the words.

This blog is meant as one of those places. I would like you to feel this is  a place for you to share thoughts, dreams and hopes for your creating.  I do not have all the answer, but I can encourage you to follow your dreams as I am following mine.

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Be

FREE

TO

WORSHIP

AS

YOU

WERE

CREATED!


  hope*writers

2    Marylin Vancil, Self to Lose Self to Find  ( A Biblical Approach to the 9 Enneagram Types),  (Enumclaw, WA: Redemption Press, 2016), 104.


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The Joy of The Lord is Your Strength.

Come and dance wth Rose 3

 Chaos bounces from place to place , with no respecter of persons as it destroys and  takes it’s victims. How can one celebrate? Does creativity truly and  honestly  reflect hope when surrounded in a shroud of hopelessness?

If you create with paint or  in clay, how would you express the scene from this book in Nehemiah from the Old Testament?

The Law of Moses had just been read by Ezra the High Priest to the Israelite people.  The Temple wall was was rebuilt. It was a joyful time of celebration. New Beginnings. The Jewish people were in exile for 70 years. No physical or spiritual connection to God.  Their temple was destroyed. They felt abandoned. They painfully  knew previous choices from their ancestors caused there own abandonment.

 Finally, a long awaited physical connection of the reconstructed wall was completed. A spiritual connection was attempted in reading the Sacred Texts. The initial response was not filled with joy.

 “ He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square”…Ezra read the Law of Moses.

How could they rejoice? So many laws to keep and they felt so weak.   Depression, despair and dejection covered them like a blanket, questioning how to respond.

Nehemiah (the governor)  and Ezra would have none of this. They heard the same words  but their hearts received  something far different. God was not giving His people simply a set of mere rules to follow.  These were tools to create a connection for building intimacy. This intimacy would go from people to people and from His people and Himself.

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them. (NIV)

Nehemiah and Ezra knew, this people would never be able to accomplish the requirements  on their own. That did not stop Nehemiah from going forward. He commanded this day to be one of celebration. Was the governor being heartless, uncaring? No!  Nehemiah stated truth:

“Do not grieve for

THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH”.

 

As the Jews embraced the reality of their freedom from the burden of carrying the law on their shoulders, they received joy.  They understood it was not in themselves where their strength was found  but in the strength of the Creator of the Universe and His Joy over them.

Read verse 12 again to understand why they were able to have joy and to celebrate after hearing the Law.

12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.

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Celebration does not always come easily. The discipline of celebration is not always going out participating in a big party.  Celebration is hard work at times. Celebration may be  an inner discovery instead of an outer activity.  Life does not always hand you a bowlful of cherries to enjoy. What happens if while eating the cherries, you come across a pit? How do you respond? Celebrate and Dance

How can a person be joyful in a pain-filled world..”

This became an honest question for a fellow creative. She suffered a hairline fracture in her wrist which caused not only extreme physical pain, but also emotional chaos. It was a time when  she was stepping into a season of creative classes and personal growth. Suddenly the tiny super ball of chaos started zinging back and forth in her life.  Celebration and Worship! HOW?  Just as the Jews questioned Nehemiah when the LAW was  read to them, my friend had the same questions when this happened to her wrist?

How did my friend cope?

THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH!

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As my friend went to God with her pain, she said “Yes” to worship. The  “Yes” to worship allowed her to receive the Joy of the Lord to be her strength.

The result was worship and celebration in  this beautiful painting.Normas artwork.

“Worshiping with art seriously is therapy for pain-physically or pain of the soul”¹

Come Celebrate and dance. To celebrate causes you to take a step beyond where you might be and engage deeper into where you can be. The strength of Creator of the Universe and His Joy over you is your strength.

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Are you experiencing a physical or emotional burden?

                       Are you willing to take a chance to celebrate and dance?

Did you see artwork from the story in Nehemiah as a people finding it easy or difficult to worship?

        Can you take the time to create their fear or express their joy?

Where do you go for strength in your time of pain?

Who is your strength?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment line concerning  your journey.  We are all on this path together.

BE

FREE

TO

WORSHIP

AS

YOU

WERE

CREATED!

 

 

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¹Quote from my friend concerning what God is doing in her through worship and creativity.


1 Comment

You will never understand but come celebrate and dance.

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Ecclesiastes 11:5

The Message (MSG)

5 Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman
 So you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does.
Today, there are many scientific breakthroughs making this mystery a bit less mysterious. Cell discovery and genetics give information that were beyond an unheard concept to the writer of Ecclesiastes. Even so, with the knowledge we presently have, the depth, the reality of a living child growing inside of her mother carries a living mystery.
Does it seem frustrating or daunting to think you will
never understand the mystery at work that God does?
 —Why even try ?
I have better things to think about. (BE CONCERNED WITH!)
  •  My Job
  • My Children
  • My Spouse
  • My Health
If you are a creative person, your mind is filled with tantalizing dreams inside just waiting to be released. You are excited. Or are you hounded with deadlines? Either way, realistically,  how can you give yourself time and space, to engage in an activity that may not further your DOING?
The Creator of the Universe is God so it is impossible to understand all that He is.
                                                           RIGHT!
The truth is, The Creator, God  reaches out His hand to you to join Him in the dance of life. Do you as a creative artist take time to be fed?  Even when your posts do not have a Christian based theme Dallas Willard expresses you have a need. Your soul requires nourishment.
Dallas willard photo.
Your soul is the very center of your being. To thrive, you need to engage in the center of life which is God. How can you do this among all your other activities?
You can engage in the wonderful mystery, as you;
  • Choose to slow down,
  • Trust
  • Walk the path God has chosen,
  • Become present in the person God calls you to be.
7-8a Oh, how sweet the light of day, And how wonderful to live in the sunshine! Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted. Take delight in each light-filled hour. Ecclesiastes 11 MSG

so you will never understand

But He says come join in the dance!

Celebration, Meditation, Solitude.

These are just a few of the many disciplines  to join in the dance.  I am presently on a journey to discover how the Discipline of  Celebration is expanding my intimacy with God.  Discovering how God is breaking the chains and setting me free will be at the heart of the posts because that is my heart for you.

 

 

Join me in the dance. How are you being set free? I have a Facebook Page  you are welcome to join for questions and comments as well. You can  leave a comment or question here if you want.

Remember, we are all on this creative journey together.

BE

FREE

TO

WORSHIP

AS

YOU

WERE

CREATED!

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I am celebrating the snow is gone. Don’t I look happy? 🙂