• The Writer


    Hello! My name is Laura, welcome to my blog! I write weird stories, collect dragon plushies and stay up too late with my nose in a book. I am a wife, mom and child saved by grace. My hope is that you find encouragement here or at least a smile or too.
    God bless!

  • “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book that it may be for the time to come forever and ever.”
    ~Isaiah 30:8.

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  • Quotes

    We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "The only just literary critic," he concluded, "is Christ, who admires more than does any man the gifts He Himself has bestowed."
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures."
    ~Flannery O'Connor

    You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.
    ~Arthur Polotnik

    Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
    ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

    "There are forms of insanity that condemn people to hear voices against their will, but as writers we invite ourselves to hear voices without relinquishing our hold on reality or our right to control."
    ~Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway

    Christians have sometimes been suspicious of stories, because they really can influence you. If you read the Twilight novels once a month for a year, I think you'd be a different human afterward—and not a sparkly one.
    ~Nate Wilson

It May Not Look like it, but I am Living my Dream

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Every child is asked this probably about a billion times.  If someone else isn’t asking them, they are asking themselves.  I spent a lot of thought on this topic as a child, mostly coming up with answers for the many adults we asked me.  First it was a nurse like my mom, but I decided I hated needles too much for that.  Then (of course) it was a ballerina, but I didn’t like the costumes.  (There was also the “secret agent” stage where I desperately wanted to learn martial arts, travel the world and kick bad guy butts. 😛 )  Next a musician, but musical theory was like taking math and math and I were not on good terms.  For a while I thought about being a singer, but voice lessons were not really an option financially.  Then I discovered writing, but that’s not the dream I am talking about.

Even through all the indecision of childhood reasoning and dreaming, I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.  It was the only thing when I thought about my future that made sense to me, that I could see myself doing, the only dream that made me smile with excitement.  But it wasn’t a suitable answer when adults other than my parents asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  It was as if they didn’t see it as a real dream/job to have and I didn’t understand why.  What did I want to be?  A wife and a mom.

Yes, that was what I wanted to be when I grew up, a wife and a mom.  From a very early age I just knew that’s what God wanted me to do.  My baby dolls were precious to me, and I would swaddle them and hold them like they were real, to the extent I usually didn’t let other people hold them. They were my babies and I was their mommy.  All my Barbies and stuffed animals had a family with a mommy, a daddy and children (or more accurately, a mommy, a daddy, a teenager, a little sibling and a baby.)  I made families out of everything, from buttons to the different sized rods we used for math. (You home-schoolers know what I am talking about.)  I loved it, but whenever I gave my honest answer to the “what do you want to be when you grow up” question, nobody seemed to take me seriously.

When God also called me to be a writer, one of the things that made me excited about it was that I could do it and still be a stay at home wife and mom.  I could still home-school and be a writer.  I didn’t have to go to school or get a degree, I didn’t have to commute to a job, I could be at home.  I didn’t realize how much I loved being at home until I got my first true away-from-home job (babysitting/nannying didn’t count).  Like any young adult I wanted to get out of the house and away from my family (nothing against my family, they are awesome and I love them).  We’ve all been there, when we think it’s time for us to spread our own wings and leave the nest.  I worked four days a week and for a while it was nice not being home, but it didn’t take long for me to miss it.  I missed having time to play in the kitchen, I had to actually catch up on what was going on instead of being a witness (that felt weird).  It made me feel out of touch with home and my family even though I still lived there.  I wanted to be home again.

When I graduated High School I was bombarded with questions about college, degrees and careers.  It drove me crazy.  I didn’t want to go to college, I didn’t feel God leading me toward college or a degree, but that just wasn’t the norm.  I took a couple of classes just because it’s what I was “supposed to do”, but boy was I one happy girl when I walked off that campus for the last time.  After that, when I was asked if I was going to school and I answered no, I’d get looks that to me said, “That’s strange”, “Is she just not smart?” “Poor lost soul”, even from church members.  It was sad and a tad discouraging.  I was just trying to follow where I thought God was leading me.  I didn’t need a degree to be a writer, a wife and a mom, but I was the only young woman I knew who wasn’t going to school and pursuing a career.

Now however, all those odd looks, wondering and seeking, all those voices whispering and telling me to just go with the status quo are all things of the past.  They are silent and gone, not because people have changed their view, but because I chose to stop hearing and seeing them.  I may not have a degree, but I am studying to be a Godly wife and mom.  Staying home may look boring on the outside, but I have time to pursue my interests, whether they be cooking, reading or writing.  I love being here when my husband walks through the door.  I may not be the most amazing house keeper, but I love keeping house and the satisfaction of looking around a room I just finished cleaning.  And now we have a growing collection of tiny pink clothes, diaper packages and baby bath soap.  My little at home world is growing, and I couldn’t be happier.

It may not be what this world views as the norm, but this is my dream and I am living it.  To you young woman who is seeking God’s will for your life and may being going through that same stage in life, don’t for a minute think that being a wife and a mom isn’t a dream worth having, or a career worth pursuing.  It is.  The path that God has planned for you is more worth while, more fulfilling and better than anything this world has to offer.  So tune out the controversy, set your sights on Him and keep dreaming.

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Don’t Just Write

After posting A Page a Day, I came across a fellow blogger’s post about not writing everyday and realized I needed to expound of that point.  To be a good writer it is important to write and write a lot, but there so much more to it than that.  Practice makes perfect and writing everyday is good practice, but there is more to that practice than just writing.

Becoming a Proficient Writer

To became a skilled writer don’t just write – read, learn and critique along with writing.  If you want to learn a skill what do you do?  You read up on it, you research, you look at the examples of others along with practicing said skill.  It’s the same for writing.

Writing everyday is a good start, but if you write everyday for a year without going out and learning about writing, without reading stories or articles, without reviewing grammar rules, story structure and character studies, you’ll more than likely end up with a bunch of writing that is unusable.  Writing is a skill that’s learned.  Even for the people that it comes naturally too, they still have to work at it.  Writing is also a learn-as-you-go-along skill.  No matter how long you’ve been at it, there is always something new to learn.

More Ways to Practice

Finding Resources:

There are so many resources out there today for writers.  Books, blogs, websites.  Take advantage of them.  Go online, search through the library, materiel is out there, you just have to go find it.   Here are a few that I have used.

The One Year Adventure Novel writing curriculum – by Daniel Schwabaurer

A Writer’s Coach – by Jack Hart

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft – by Janet Burroway

Comma Sense: A fundamental guide to punctuation by Richard Ledder and John Shore

Critiquing:

One of the things that tremendously helped me as a writer was critiquing for others.  By finding flaws in other’s works, I was able to more easily find flaws in my own writing.  If you know someones else who is a writer, share your work with each other and go over it together.  Find a writer’s forum where people post pieces to be critiqued.  Start a critique group at your school.  Whatever you do, critiquing is not only helpful to the person receiving the critique, it’s helpful for the person giving it.

Review:

Reviewing basic grammar rules, sentence structure etc. is a good idea.  You might feel like you’re back in grade school, but if you want to write well, keeping your mind refreshed on the rules of writing is never a bad idea.

Read:

It’s just that – read.  Why did we want to be writer’s in the first place?  Because we love to read.  (Well, that’s true for me anyway.)  I’ve found when I haven’t read a good novel in a while, writing just doesn’t seem possible.  Books are like fuel. Out minds need them, our imaginations need them.  Keep a reading list so when you’re not sure what book to read next you can refer to said list.

Writing not only involves disciplining yourself to do it, it involves disciplining and training your mind as well.  Writing everyday will give you lots of practice putting words on paper, but studying and learning the skills will help you learn how to write well and make those words on paper came to life.

When Dreams Come True

Dear readers,

There has been something amazing and wonderful happening in my life that I have been waiting to share with you for some time.  I posted the picture on Thursday, so you all are well aware about what has happened… but now, I get to talk about it.  All I can say is God is so faithful.  When we trust Him there is no limit to the incredible things He can do.  His love is unfailing, His timing perfect, His dreams, well, they are beyond anything I could have ever hoped for.

My dreams have come true.

I’ve been granted the desires of my heart.

My cup is overflowing.

Everything has changed.

Everything is perfect.

I’m going to marry my best friend, Daniel Beals.

Remember THIS POST back in December?  Well, those dreams were about Daniel.

Though I’ve known Daniel for several years, this journey (for me) really started fall of 2011.  Daniel and I had grown very close over the last year and I had come to realize just how much his friendship meant to me.  Before I had tried to think of him just as a friend, a brother in Christ, but as New Year’s and 2012 came around, that became very difficult.

As the months passed our friendship changed.  We became even closer.  I knew I cared about Daniel, cared a lot, and I wanted to tell him, but more than that, I wanted to stay with in God’s will. I suddenly find myself praying nearly all the time.  For Daniel, about Daniel… constantly giving God my feelings for him, and my future, whether it included a life with him or not.

The first several months of 2012 were hard.  I tried to keep the mind set that Daniel was some other girl’s husband, I kept praying and handing how I felt over to God, I tried to keep from going crazy.  On a walk one day, I came to the realization that Daniel had become my best friend.  I knew I wanted the man I married to be my best friend, and the idea that Daniel might not be that man, honestly, made me feel depressed.  I decided that I would rather not marry anyone than lose Daniel or his friendship.  (I am so very thankful that God had other plans.)

One night that summer, during a closing shift at work, I spent the whole evening praying.  It was slow that night, and I had six hours before closing and clocking out.  I prayed about Daniel, telling God how much I cared about him, how scared I was of losing him, and I desperately I wanted to just tell him how I felt.  I wrestled with God, going back and forth between almost letting go, to coming up with a reason to hold on.  Finally… I let go.  I gave Daniel to God.  I gave my dream of Daniel to God.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew my future and my dream was in good hands.

Then the OYAN Summer Workshops rolled around.  When I saw Daniel again, face to face, I couldn’t stop smiling, and actually surprised myself with with the suddenly thought of, “I love him.”  Also, I was pretty sure that God was telling me, “Yes, he’s the one.”  That week was interesting, and when it comes down to it, rather hilarious.  I tried to let Daniel know how I felt, without actually telling him, and apparently, how we both felt about each other was very obvious to everyone there… except us.

In August, Daniel and his mom came to visit.  That week… I just about went crazy.  The whole time all I could think about was how I was going to let Daniel go back to Oklahoma without telling how I felt.  I prayed so hard that week.  Preparing myself for the goodbye I thought was coming.  I decided that if Daniel didn’t say anything that week, and left without confirming how I thought he felt too, I was going to slowly end the friendship.  I felt like I was being fake with him by not saying anything, and I couldn’t continue on with our friendship staying the way it was with how I felt.   Then… God gave me my dream.

My mom sent me with Mrs. Beals to run an errand.  When we got back, Daniel and my parents were sitting at the kitchen table, and my two younger siblings were no where to be seen.  I should have been more suspicious, but I wasn’t.  I thought it was rather odd, and continued on my way upstairs to the restroom.  My mom followed me up, knocked on the door and asked me if I was alright.  I thought that was a little weird.  She told me to wait for her before I went back down stairs, and there was something in her voice that made my heart leap.  When I came out I asked if everything was alright.  She just smiled and said yes, then took my arm, placed it through hers and led me downstairs.  We walked into the kitchen.  There was Daniel, his mom and my dad at the kitchen table.  (I was still clueless as to what was actually happening.)  Mom left me standing in the middle of the room and sat down.  Again, I asked if everything was alright and what was going on.  My mom looked at Daniel and said, “Well, are you going to tell her?”

Daniel stood up and walked towards me.  As he talked, he never looked up.  I just stared at him.  He told me he had asked my parents permission to court me, and they had said yes, now he was asking me for mine.  Suddenly I couldn’t remember how to talk.  I managed a quiet “yes” as I thought my heart would explode with happiness.  I couldn’t believe what had just happened and was in a daze pretty much for the next couple of months.

Since August, Daniel’s and my relationship as grown even more, and on February 8th, 2013 he asked me to marry him.

I walked in the door from work, to find a big vase of red roses along with a card with my name on it sitting at the kitchen table, and, my siblings waiting with cameras.  (Again, I was clueless, and readily accepted my sister’s explanation that Daniel wanted pictures.)  As I opened and read the card, Daniel walked up behind me.  I couldn’t believe he was there.  I turned around and gave him a big hug, then he knelt down on one knee, pulled out the most beautiful ring, and proposed.  Of course, I said yes.

God has been so good.  I have grown closer to Him through getting to know Daniel, and through falling in love with him.  The last year and a half has been an incredible journey, and I can’t wait to see what this next road holds, walking side by side with the love of my life.

Soul Food

As I read through the Bible I write down the verses that jump out at me.  Most are about encouragement, stranding strong in hardships, holding fast in the storms, focusing your heart on the Lord and letting God change you.  I’ve been able to encourage others with them and now I am posting them here for you all.  🙂

Romans 8:28 And we now that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Psalm 57:7  My hear is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.

Psalm 51:10-12  Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.  Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

Psalm 51:17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Roman 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.

Romans: 12:12  Rejoicing in hope,; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.

Romans: 13:12  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

Isaiah 35:4  Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.

II Timothy 1:9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to out works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

What are some of your favorite verses?

Dead Air

I sit at my desk and stare forlornly at my notebook. Pen in hand I tap the blank sheet of paper glaring up at me. I frown and squeeze my eyes shut.
“Come on”, I whisper to myself, “Just think.” I aimlessly write a title at the top of the page; Notes for Chapter such-in-such. There, it’s not blank anymore. I sit back in my chair and glance out the window; raining, figures. Know I tap the pen on the edge of the desk and drum my finger beside it.
“Ah!” I toss the pen across the desk. It hits the wall and bounces off, clattering onto the desks wooden surface. I pick it up again, holding it close to my eyes as if examining it will reveal what to write. I rock my chair back on two legs, gripping the desk and groaning mentally. Dropping back to four legs I set my pen on the notebooks page as if to write, but my hand never moves. Letting go of the pen I leaned back in my chair once more. My gaze roams around the room stopping at my bookshelf, on my Bible. I haven’t opened it in a few days and gilt begins to creep into my head. The reason for my current state of Writer’s Black stares me in the face; when I let my relationship with the author of the world fall, my own authorship of stories falls. It is no surprise, I’ve realized this before, and now, here I am again. How many times do I have to learn this? I’m so dense. My hands drop to my lap and I look up at the ceiling,

“Father, forgive me. Here I am, help me, change me, let me not leave your side.” I bow my head and rub my eyes. “No more dead air between us, no more dead air from me.”

A Fire Within

It’s funny, there are times when I just want to throw my notebook across the room, break my pencil and pound my head against the wall I’m so frustrated with writing. Then there are the times when I feel so brain dead I can’t even come up with a more interesting synonym for “run”. But, there are always the times when the words just flow from my heart and I find myself crying over what I just wrote because the passion is there and it’s real, it’s from my soul.

Ever since I was a little girl I had this fire inside me, a zeal for something dyeing to get out and be seen by the world. I took it as a desire for adventure, a longing to experience amazing things, and that was partly it. But it seemed no matter what I did or where I looked I couldn’t find what that passion, (or fire), was for. Then, God put a pen in my hand and stirred my mind with possibilities of what we could create on paper together.

Honestly, I never wanted to be a writer, I wanted to go into music as a vocalist, but God had other plans. The first line in a movie I recently saw was, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” I can just see His smile when I decided to become a singer, how He must have gently shaken His head as He lovingly led me in another direction.

Now, writing is my passion, my second love, my act of worship. I think of what Eric Liddell said in Chariots of Fire, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” That’s what’s writing is like for me, I’m doing what I was made to do, but I’m not doing it all alone. God’s beside me, He’s between the lines, He’s the underlying message. I am forever what He made me; a writer.

In Christ,
Laura

I can…through Him.

It’s Monday. Another week has flown by. I have to admit, I didn’t do very well last week.  I got a lot of work done with chapter four, but I did not finish it, and I should have. So, as is a habit of mine, I started to beat myself up on Friday. To add to it, there is no Stephen of Scarborough this week. I apologize to all you readers, (especially Daniel,) please be patient with me and I will have a nice long part four for you next Monday, (or Sunday.) Time is really a solid thing, and if you don’t use it properly it bites back. Well, that’s what happened last week, I misused my time and I got bit. I was feeling pretty low, thinking to myself, “Come on! You’re an adult, you should be acting like one!” Then…

Yesterday in Sunday School we went over Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” We picked apart the verse, going over each word on its own. God really spoke to me during that time and gave me comfort.
The first word is “I”, me, not anyone else. God is telling this to me, making it personal.
“Can”; it’s not impossible.
“Do”; an action, this is something I must do.
“Everything”; not this or that, everything He has given me to do.
“Through”; He is there working in me, not through my inabilities but through His abilities.
“Him”; I am not alone, He is with me in it all.
“Who gives”; He gives me what I need, at the time I need it the most.
“Me”, the same as “I”.
“Strength”; how much strength? Enough.
Tears started to come to my eyes as I listen to God’s voice through these words. Yes, I had screwed up that week, yes I had wasted my time, yes I had let myself and Him down, but, He wanted to give me a second chance.
I, me, He still wanted to use me. The task He had given me was not impossible. He picked me up, pointed me in the right direction and I’ve once again began doing. No longer over whelmed because I know I can do everything He has given me to accomplish. I’m working through Him, with Him. I don’t have to rely on what I have alone, it’s by His power. He has given me the courage, the willpower, and the time. Then last but not least, He has given me just enough strength to finish every task one by one.

Praise God that He is so forgiving and quick to give us a second chance. Thank you Father.
“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”

In Christ,
Laura

Writing Magic

Since the blog has been dead for a few days, and for lack of anything better to post, here is another little scribbling of mine.  This one I wrote several months ago in March.  I had ment to go back and add another section to it, but by the time I returned, the thought had left.  So, it remained the way it was, and here it is now for your enjoyment. 

The nib of her pen scratches across the paper.  Slowly and steadily it performs the well known dance of its owner’s movements.  The letters begin to appear opening up a window into the writer’s heart, a picture, a new world undiscovered.  Stroke by stroke the story takes shape until it jumps off the page and swirls around the room singing in the writer’s mind.  Then suddenly a dragon arises from the deep, dark depths of the pages, its fiery breath burning away the words.  Undaunted by this fearsome intruder the writer skillfully wields her pen and battles the beast.  Just when it seems that the new world will perish the pen pricks a deadly blow and the dragon slips back to the depths from whence it came.  Once again peace resides in the writer’s mind until the next beast creeps from hidden recesses of doubt in an attempt to overthrow her imagination.  So she plows on, word by word, her story filling page after page. 

The worlds that are there to discover are unnumbered.  Once you pick up a pen and discover a few of those worlds for yourself there’s no going back.  No matter how much you resist or leave you pen untouched you find it is impossible not to write.  When you read you can visit another man’s world and participate in his character’s adventures.  When you write, you live it, and experience it in a whole new way.  You are the characters, the readers guide.  But be careful, fear the doubtful thought that threatens to over shadow that joy.  Always remember who is on your side.

A Light in the Darkness

When I feel lost, sad, or upset I write.  It’s a way of getting things out of my system and making sense of my mixed up thoughts.  Sometimes it’s only one or two lines, other times it can be a whole story or poem.  This is something I wrote last night, during one of those down times. 

 

I gazed into nothing. The sound of creaking planks echoed in the stillness as the floor dipped and swayed. It was so humid down here, but the dense air fueled my sober mood. Here I was, alone, not a friend to my name, rotting in the bowels of a ship. Not even the sea cared if I lived or died, and neither did I. My life had become the darkness around me, so thick, no light could pierce it. What was left to live for besides to draw breath? Even that brought pain to my bruised lungs. The ship heaved to the side, throwing me with it. I let myself smack the wall and crumpled to the floor. With my hands bound and my spirit crushed, there was little else I could do. Had life truly come to this? What events had brought me to such a forsaken place? Would I die here? Did I care? No, I had lost everything, life was gone already. Suddenly, a small light appeared above, a sliver of yellow casting its glow through a crack in the floor boards. Was it lantern light, a sun ray from an open hatch? The pin point of a glow illuminated my prison, the sealed barrels, the murky puddles, and my sorry form. I looked up into the tiny gap, marveling that such a small bit of light could sweep away so much darkness. I pondered the thought for a moment. Could there be a glimmer of light for me? Enough to chase the darkness from my heart and make life worth living again? The light source faded away and once again I was surrounded by nothing. I breathed in, life, I still had it, and as long as I had a light to guide me, it would always be worth living.

A Love Hate Thing

       Sometimes I really don’t like the story that I’m writing. Like now, I’m in the mist of Writer’s Block or, an Imagination Hiccup, and I just wish the story was finished. But of course, wishing doesn’t help me much. I’m seriously thinking about making a copy of my book and burning it in our wood stove. Yes, I like that idea. But even that won’t solve my problem.
       I think back to the verse in Isaiah 30 that says, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength,” or in 1 Timothy, “Neglect not the gift that is in you.” How do these apply to Writer’s Block? When I set out to write stories that would glorify God I placed myself in His hands saying, “Here I am, use me and my abilities for Your purpose.” When I let discouragement get the better of me I pull myself out of God’s hands and into my own. I’m neglecting the gift that God gave me by not putting my hope in him and trusting that He will give me the strength that I need to see it through. “Commit thy way unto the LORD: trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass,” Psalms 37:5. This has always been hard for me to do. I’m the kind of person who always has to been the strong one, but I am not.

       Right now I have a love hate thing with my story, and not just with my story, but with God as well. He gave me this task to do and what have I done with it? There were times of joyfulness, and contentment, but mostly the opposite. If I grumble about the job that God gave me to do, am I not grumbling about Him too? I know I can’t do it on my own, but I still try to do just that. I know without Him I would be nowhere, and yet I say that I am nowhere just because I am having trouble putting words on paper.
       With God there is no such thing as Writer’s Block. For Writer’s Block is just stepping out of God’s hands. If we step back in, He will help us through what He has called us to do.

“Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast unmovable, always abounding on the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

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