51 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 2-7-20

  1. Yes, Good morning that God made!
    It’s snowing! We have flurries with no expected accumulation. It’s beautiful. I went outside and in a moment it looked like I had dandruff collected on my black sweater.

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  2. Good morning. Last I saw, we had about five to six inches of wet heavy snow. It will be interesting to see if daughter makes it to work, about fifty minutes from here. Amusingly, other daughter’s worker comes from the town where this daughter is going to work, and they basically do the same things, working with developmentally delayed people. Yesterday, worker got stuck in the snow coming here. But they cannot just trade jobs, would not work.

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  3. I was reading in 2 Chronicles the other day, chapter 21, verse 20:
    He was thirty two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years; and he departed with no one’s regret, and they buried in in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.

    That seems like a very sad thing to me.

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  4. I believe Chas has mentioned it on here before. It just struck me and has stuck with me for several days. It should build empathy for our fellow humans. To think people are dying with no one to regret. And in his case, it was deemed important enough to mention in Scripture.

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  5. Morning! Snowy morning here with about 4 inches thus far with a predicted 3-5 inches more during the day. But it is oh so pretty in this forest this morning! Daughter heading into the Springs where she works…praying for safe travels for her! Roads are said to be awful….

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  6. I had my Bible in my lap when reading what you wrote, Mumsee. That was King Jehoram. I don’t think I had ever read that passage with compassion because he was such a bad king in the sight of God. I can feel compassion in the sense of his life and influence having been so wasted, that given opportunity to do a lot of good but instead he chose to do a lot of bad. I feel compassion for God that one who He allowed to be king, and one who as a human God created bore His image, disgraced God rather than bringing glory to God. In a sense, his death was a bit like the death of Jezebel. Recorded yet disgraceful and befitting of the end of a life so damaging to the world. Do I need to feel more compassion about this? Please show me how if I am going down the wrong rabbit trail with my thinking.

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  7. Janice, that is basically how I saw it. And moving on to others and including myself. Am I living in such a way that people will see God and remember me fondly or am I living in such a way that when I die, there will be no regrets?

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  8. Well, hopefully, I won’t have any regrets but I would think it sad if nobody regretted me not being around here anymore. And I think it is sad for that guy as well.m

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  9. Why yes, you are. Or at least it looks that way from out here where the sky is blue and it will be in the mid-60s.

    I’m walking to work today.

    Tomorrow we’re going into the city to see Hamilton from the cheap seats.

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  10. Mumsee, it is a sobering reminder to examine ourselves. The mere thought that you are doing that means that you are pointing people to do what God tells us to do in order to be right with Him. That king only touched lives in a bad way on earth so no one had reason to mourn his absence. There are many ways that you influence people for good. And I think there are witnesses in the supernatural realm that see even more than what people see here in the physical realm. There may be someone in a remote area who is doing great good to benefit humanity that hardly anyone will ever know about here, but God knows and that is more important than any recognition that could be given at dgood. No one would know to regret the death of that person either.

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  11. In writing last night about Boy’s wrestling match, I did not comment one way or the other about his opponent being a girl. But I was surprised by that, and not too happy that boys wrestling girls is becoming more accepted.

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  12. It’s just plain wet cold here. We had quite the storm blow through last night. It knocked over the large umbrella and the wrought iron table it was standing in. It woke both of us. For a minute we couldn’t figure out what it was.
    Today the sun is shining and Little Miss has Papa outside. She has had about a dozen meltdowns so far this morning. It’s frustrating when the adults in your life can’t figure out what you are saying nor what you want. Papa had to go to the property tax office to straighten some things out and we girls had to stay home. She doesn’t want to sit in the high chair anymore that’s for sure.
    Mumsee, it is so fun to hear you talking about your babies.

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  13. Janice, “with no one’s regret”. Written by God’s direction, seems like it would be God’s perspective. No one regretting seems like it would include God and the angels. Does that strike you as an incredibly empty situation? No one’s regret. Billions and billions of people, myriad angels, God. No one’s regret. How sad.

    The hidden light working out his salvation in the Cross, doing the work God has given him, quietly and without human fanfare is still seen by the myriad and the Audience of One. And his death is precious in the sight of the Lord. Well done oh good and faithful servant.

    But the other, in the light of what Michelle shared yesterday on the eternalness of Hell, total and complete separation, with no one’s regret.

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  14. Interesting take on the most recent “Little Women” film:

    _______________________

    God Goes Missing in ‘Little Women’
    The Oscar contender is distinctive, but leaves out a critical part of the story.
    By Charlotte Allen

    … Ms. Gerwig’s film has many virtues and is certainly a “Little Women” for this age. But it is not the “Little Women” that Louisa May Alcott wrote: a tale of delightful, fun-loving young girls who learn through folly, disappointment, sorrow, and moral reckoning that their lives are actually pilgrimages to the Celestial City. …
    _______________________________

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  15. DJ, Louisa May Alcott’s God was not the God of Christianity, but rather a moral guidepost. Alcott’s family was part of the New England Transcendental movement, which denied essential Christian elements such as the Fall and the Incarnation. There is much the modern world gets wrong about the past, but they are not wrong in viewing the Victorian era as an age characterized by an empty moralism, in which the concept of God dwindled to merely a reason to behave, and Jesus was reduced to merely a moral teacher.

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  16. a tale of my walk yesterday;
    I went out walking today in the state park behind the church. I waited until later in the day when I feel that there will be more folks and thus a little safer. I started off and then Peggy called and I stopped to talk to her. Then I went down to the bridge and took off my heavy top as I was too warm. As I started up the hill I heard someone and looked behind me. It was an older gal with white hair and I said hello. She mentioned something about having to keep moving because she was old. So I asked her how old she was and we are the same age. We began to talk. Her name is Phyllis something. We kept finding things we had in common. She lives out of town where I grew up. Right across from my elementary school on Duggan road, Pleasant Ridge which is now closed. She asked if I grew up in a Christian home and I said no, I became a Christian in college. Then she asked how I became a Christian. I ended up giving her my testimony, telling about having my son Jeff and that that led me to the Lord. Turns out she goes to Combie Bible church, which our church began as a sister church many years ago. We finally got to where I was going to turn back and she would continue on. She asked if I was going back up the hill and I said yes. So she went with me as she wanted to tell me some things. Good thing she was talking because the uphill was wearing me out. She told me about her sister who had had a son out of wedlock almost the same time that I had Jeff. And a college roommate who also got pregnant. It was such a special connection. I will look for her on the trails again. She wasn’t sure about the way at one point so that may have been her first time on those trails.

    Don’t you love it when God brings you together.

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  17. Roscuro, I was going to say something along the line of your 12:58. The girls do read Pilgrim’s Progress and the New Testament, but it is all moralism and good manners, not Christianity. I reread it just a few weeks ago, and I was struck all over again by that. In the book the father is a chaplain and at the end he is given a parish, but it is all vague religiosity even in the book, and in real life the transcedentalism makes it a false religion.

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  18. I’ll hereby acknowledge I’ve never read “Little Women.” Let the judging begin. 🙂 For some reason, it was just not a book I’d ever read. I’m not entirely sure how I missed it, but also never was compelled to read it later in life. Interesting notes here about how Christianity was portrayed, thanks for the context. Makes sense considering the era in which it was written.

    My head and work calendar are exploding this morning, we have our only LB reporter going out of the country for 2 weeks (starting 2/17) so I’ll be covering her beat as well as mine during those weeks, with the scheduling conflicts already piling up.

    And while I was on the phone with the editor, I heard a big ruckus in the kitchen and knew that Tess was stealing Annie Oakley’s ziplock-bagged dish of leftover dry food from the kitchen counter. Tess is very smart and will wait until she knows I’m distracted — in the bathroom taking a shower, on the phone, etc. She won’t risk it if I’m just in the next room on the computer.

    I walked out to the kitchen just in time to see her trotting across the backyard, the dish inside the zip-lock bag dangling from her jaws.

    When I got off the call, I went out in the yard to see that she’d wiped the dish clean. The bag was torn to shreds and in tatters nearby.

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  19. Cheryl, many of the great Victorian era writers from both sides of the Atlantic display the same empty religiosity. The British author Elizabeth Gaskell, in her book ‘Noth and South’, portrays a vicar’s family who moves from the pastoral south of England to the industrialized north, because the vicar has given up his living in the Anglican church due to his inability to affirm his belief in the book of common prayer. Gaskell never says what it was the vicar could not affirm, but Gaskell was herself married to a Unitarian minister and Anglican doctrine affirms the deity of Christ. Gaskell was an associate of Charles Dickens. Dickens wrote a book for his children called ‘The Life of our Lord, that retells the stories found in the Gospels, but Dickens’s version emphasizes Jesus’ deeds as an example to follow, portraying Jesus simply as a good man. Dickens eventually became a Unitarian. Another such writer was Mary Ann Evans, daughter of an Anglican minister, known under her pen name of George Eliot, author of works such as ‘Silas Marner’ and ‘Middlemarch’. Eliot was intrigued by the German skeptics, who at that time were stripping the Life out of the Gospels.

    Perhaps the two most evangelical of the great English novel writers of the 19th century were Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, who were both Anglican minister’s daughters and who never departed from the faith the way Eliot did. But Austen lived before the Victorian era, and Bronte died in the early years of the era. By the end of the 19th century, openly skeptical writers such as Anthony Trollope and Thomas Hardy were publishing.

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  20. I have read Little Women multiple times starting in elementary school. I also ended up reading the rest of the series as well. I have read a few biographies and dissertations on Louisa May Alcott. Mostly I ruined her books and her life for myself just like I did Laura Ingalls Wilder. Recently I read a fictionalized book about the life of Rose Wilder Lane. She and her mother had a difficult relationship. Rose was portrayed as being a lesbian. Sometimes we need to take literature at face value and not dig too deeply, other times we do.

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  21. I read Little Women repeatedly as a older child and young adolescent. I think I have read all of Alcott’s child/youth novels. We siblings related to the four sisters in ‘Little Women’, but I really liked Alcott’s ‘Eight Cousins’ better – I don’t think that had anything to do with the fact that my equivalent in the sisters in ‘Little Women’ was Beth, but maybe it was subconscious 🙂 . We had a couple of different biographies of Alcott, so we knew about the background, but it didn’t really bother us. A great author’s work often transcends who they are personally, and that goes for artists and musicians as well. I was listening the other day to British 20th century composer, Ralph Vaughn Williams’ Fifth Symphony, a work I like, and thinking about how Vaughn Williams’ based the Symphony, like Alcott, on Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’. He also wrote an opera on Pilgrim’s Progress, though it is seldom performed. Vaughn Williams’ was also the chief editor and compiler of ‘The English Hymnal’ (I linked his Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis the other day, and he used Tallis’ tune in the hymnal), as well as the Oxford Book of Carols (from which he drew to make his beautiful Fantasy on Christmas Carols). He also wrote my favorite setting of Zacharias’ song, which I linked at Christmas, among other church music. Yet Vaughn Williams was an agnostic. He set the words of Scripture and of believers to beautiful music that enhanced them without believing those words himself.

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  22. The trouble with catching up on all the goings-on in the late afternoon is that you forget which comments you want to comment on by the time you finish.
    But I have never read “Little Women”. So I can’t add anything.

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  23. l enjoyed “Little Women”, which I read when I was a girl. I think I read some of the other books by her, but didn’t like any as much as that one.

    I just recently reread the comment on the king who died to no one’s regret. The passage makes me wonder how horrible his reign was that no one regretted his death. Even Hitler had friends who were sorry he was gone. When you read how horrible the Israelites had become by adopting the evil religious practices of the countries they replaced, you can understand the comment. Child sacrifice etc. Add to that a sovereign who did what he wanted to whom he wanted and it easy to understand. Horrible, nevertheless. Such a waste of life. Such a blessing to many that he died, however.

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  24. Cheryl – Most of that article you linked – particularly about understanding scripture within its context – I can agree with. But I have a problem with this part close to the end:

    “The abuse of 1 Kings 19:12 presumes that Scripture is not sufficient. The truth is that God is not going to tell you directly, privately, through a “still, small voice” whether to attend this college or that, whether to take this job or that, or to marry this person or not.”

    Does this mean that he, and you, do not believe that God gives us direction and wisdom to make those decisions?

    My own belief is that often, He aligns circumstances to lead us where we should go, but other times He gives us an “inkling” or a “nudge” by the Holy Spirit. We are supposed to, of course, make sure we are in line with scripture in whatever we do, and we often need the counsel of godly believers. But there are indeed times when we “feel” or “sense” a nudge from the Holy Spirit to go this way or that way, or a “check in our spirit” to keep us from going in a wrong direction.

    There have been many, many times in my life when I felt/sensed God leading me in a certain way, giving me wisdom or insight that I had not thought of before, or warning me against doing or saying something I was set to. It may not have been a “still small voice” that I “heard”, but definitely nudges, warnings, and strong direction.

    There have been three times, maybe four, when the Holy Spirit gave me an inkling in my spirit of something that would happen – not in the sense of “telling” me that thus-and-so would happen, but dropping the thought of the possibility of it into my mind so that when it happened, I was somewhat prepared, or at least not as blindsided as I would have been if He had not dropped that inkling into my mind. (One of those times was years before the thing happened, and it shocked me, and seemed highly unlikely, when the thought first occurred to me. But it came to pass years later.)

    I agree that we don’t have to agonize over whether this or that is God’s will, but I do believe that He will gently nudge us in the right direction and warn us against a wrong direction.

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  25. Interesting topic with lots of nuances, I think.

    From a Ligonier devotional:

    https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/looking-gods-will/

    ~ Life presents us with many opportunities for trying to discern God’s will for us. We face many situations in which we must make a choice between two good options, and we are unsure which one is what the Lord has willed for us. This is especially difficult when neither option seems to be more advantageous than the other. At such times, we often ask God to intervene in a special way to show us the way forward. Most of us, of course, can think of times when the Lord seemed to give us special aid. One of the good opportunities might inexplicably vanish. Maybe we get an unexpected phone call from a friend and the conversation turns out to have bearing on the matter even if we never mention it. Still, even though such things may happen, they are extraordinary. The Lord does not ordinarily guide our decision-making in such ways. We need to know how to make God-pleasing decisions when no special providence is forthcoming, and we need to know how to distinguish what seems to be providential direction from our own imagination. ~

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  26. Kizzie, yes, I think we can get a check in our spirit about something or a sense to do something, etc. But that is different from saying “God told me” to do something. A few years ago I spent some time on a forum that had a lot of Christians on it, and we discussed all sorts of things, and this topic came up a lot.

    Some of the participants would say that one should not marry without praying about the decision and waiting for God to answer. That is, unless God specifically says “yes,” you may not marry this person. The big problem here as this is adding to Scripture. The Bible never tells us to run our big decisions by God for His specific approval, and in fact He never promises such approval. Instead, He tells us how to make decisions.

    Even in “Bible times,” God gave direct guidance to very few, and about a limited number of topics. He spoke specifically to the prophets and occasionally to other people (e.g., some of the kings). On a rare occasion, He did tell someone whom to marry, what to eat, where to travel–but He did so for a very specific Gospel-driven purpose! For instance, Hosea was told to marry a prostitute, but it was to make a specific point. God was using Hosea as a living object lesson. On the other hand, Joseph and Mary (who would raise Jesus, surely one of the most “important” pairings ever) were simply told to go ahead and marry the one they were engaged to marry. The apostle Paul tells widows to marry whomever they choose, “only in the Lord.” That is, follow biblical principles and marry someone who is qualified to marry (a believer of the opposite sex who is not already married), and you’re fine.

    The prophets did not have the complete Word of God, and yet they still rarely received direct words from God. Why would we, who have what they did not, receive more “prophetic” words than they did?

    See, the same people who said we need to get a yes or no from God before marrying often also said we should ask God which checkout line to use and where to park in the parking lot. Now, either these people are right to do this–meaning they are doing what God requires–or they are not. If God does require it, then why did He never tell us so? And if He does require it, then to do otherwise is sin. So, let’s say I ask God, “Should I eat tuna or ham and cheese for lunch?” and He says, “Tuna.” But then I discover we are out of tuna and I have no time to run to the store. Am I sinning if I go with ham and cheese? What if I simply change my mind? Or what if my husband comes in and he wants ham and cheese? The Pharisees added all sorts of requirements God did not impose, and Jesus did not say, “Yay, Pharisees! The more rules the better!” Adding to God’s law is not commended–it is rebuked in the harshest terms.

    But what about the big things, like marriage? Isn’t that important enough to ask God for an answer? It is definitely important enough to ask God for wisdom, but that isn’t the same thing. Again, if God is going to grant people a specific “yes” or “no,” then (1) either He’s going to do it for all Christians or He’s playing favorites; (2) if God does give us an answer, and we disregard it, then we are sinning; (3) if this is what we are supposed to do, then He should have told us so directly; and (4) He did in fact tell us what to do to make decisions–and this is not it.

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  27. What a day, what a week.

    I’m tired.

    Three stories, but when I tried to nail down something in the last one and couldn’t, editor was able to hold it, thankfully. It was just too late — on a Friday, no less — go get answers. And the main person I’d have to start with at the port is Jewish and observes the Sabbath, so he’s long gone by sundown on Fridays.

    I need to get to the grocery store for just a couple things and to an ATM to make a deposit, though I kind of don’t like doing that with cash at night …

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  28. It was kind of cool, though, when the editor, out of the blue, asks what size a particular terminal is (that I was writing about).

    I glanced up and noticed I’d put a diagram of “Port of LA Facilities” right at the top of my desk and there it was, so I answered him instantly, 132 acres. I felt so smart 🙂

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  29. I read Little Women to the children and enjoyed it. Even though it’s “moralistic religiosity” it is far better than a lot of “Christian” novels now-a-days (I’m not referring to those written by our own Wandering author).

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  30. Cheryl, on the other hand, we have discussed the doctrine behind the word Providence before, and if God directs circumstances to accomplish his will, then in our prayers for guidance we may certainly expect that God is laying out the direction he wants us to go in. Praying for guidance is like praying for the salvation of a person. According to the doctrine of God’s sovreignty, salvation, and indeed all of the events on earth, including those that affect us individually has already been determined, but that does not mean we should stop praying for someone’s salvation, because we do not know what God has determined. Our prayers for guidance are a confession of our dependence upon God for everything. In asking for guidance we are echoing the phrase in the Lord’s prayer, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

    I absolutely would ask God if I should marry a someone, not because I expect to hear God say “Yes” or “No”, but because I know he is capable of showing me the things I would need to know about the hypothetical person I considered marrying. I can also have every confidence that those major decisions I have asked for guidance for in the past were made according to the will of God, as each obstacle was either removed or put in place in order to either allow me to go forward or to stop.

    When I read the article on the link you shared, I felt like the author was setting up a straw man, as I never have considered Elijah’s story as an impetus for seeking God’s guidance and I think the phrase ‘a still small voice’ when used in the context of seeking God’s guidance is from a confusion of the phrase from Elijah’s story with the Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 30:

    “For you people will live on Zion in Jerusalem and will never cry again. He will show favor to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears, He will answer you. The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher will not hide Himself any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher, and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.”

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  31. Cheryl – We agree that God gives us wisdom. To me, that is what the nudges and such are – God giving us wisdom and direction.

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  32. And yes, some people take that to an extreme, such as in the examples you gave. Or “hear” what they want to hear. But that doesn’t negate the fact that God does give us wisdom and direction in various ways.

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  33. I have read Little Women…several times and it is a favored book in my bookcase 😊 my favorite move of said book was with Katharine Hepburn playing the part of Jo. June Allyson did a fine job in that part as well…
    The snow is finally stopping and we now have about 8 or 9 inches on the ground. It was an enjoyable inside day of stitching and watching a movie I had not seen but everyone else seems to have. I Can Only Imagine…touching story of forgiveness and redemption…tear jerker….

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  34. Roscuro, yes, one should ask for wisdom in any major decision, and ask others for counsel as well. When I was looking for a way to get out of Chicago, I couldn’t figure it out for a long time. It was two or three years between the time I started trying and the time I figured it out. One night I lay awake for hours and it all came together. Now, it turns out that the “plan” that came together didn’t work, not really, but having a plan gave me confidence to move forward and act.

    When I was looking to marry my husband, we talked at great length about many subjects. On several different matters I asked him questions, knowing that the answer would determine whether we would move forward. I also had him talk to one of my elders and then meet my pastor. I googled his name, and I talked to his pastor too.

    Meanwhile, I was in conversations with people who were mad at God, because they prayed and believed God “told them” to marry this person, and then it turned out to be a bad match and they thought God had tricked them. Did they do the necessary “checking out” of the potential marriage partner? Did they ask other people’s opinions? Or did they just pray and sense “yes” that agreed with their own desire to marry? I have no idea. I just know it isn’t fair to get mad at God in a belief that God gave a personal, private word on something, because God doesn’t give personalized prophecies to allow people to shortcut wise decision making. Prophecy is a bigger deal than that.

    Providence? Absolutely. My husband and I both cleared the way for us to buy this condo, and everything worked out “against all odds” for us to get it. I’ve had times I’ve experienced really neat answers to prayers. I believe my husband and daughters are God’s good gifts. But did He tell me to marry the man, and would I have been in sin not to do so? No.

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  35. That was supposed to say my husband and I both believe God cleared the way for us to buy this condo–having it get on the market, at the right price, exactly when we needed it, after it had been tied up for months with another deal to someone else that fell through.

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  36. Oh, Happy Birthday!

    Just in from a long dog walk, later and longer than we usually go, but we all needed it. We may get some rain Sunday-Monday from a system coming down from Washington State.

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