Network Links has not networked well this week.  I am seeing the link to my blog on my FB page---but others are not.  I do not have a clue why.  There is one of two solutions-

1.  Become a follower on the blog--right side of the page--it will automatically be sent via email to you everyday.  Prefer to not have others know you are reading it---put an alias --no picture or Daffy Duck---who will ever know but you?

2.  The blog posts automatically every morning at 6 AM--if you do not see it--let me know and I will post the link on my page manually.

SORRY for the technical problems--I wondered if you all had quit reading it!

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When I take my blinder's off, get my eyes off my navel---start looking around--I see what a sad -fallen world we live in.  It is all over the internet---families who have lost loved ones to addictions--addictions which are destroying lives--cancer and heart disease rampant--single mothers who are struggling with no support---dysfunctional families and no support systems--the list is long and breaks my heart.  It leads to concern overload and a flip-flopping heart--trying to decide how and where to help.

How could we NOT see all the pain and struggle around us?  Do we put on our blinders--and refuse to look right or left---pursuing our own pleasure---are we so mired in our own struggles that we cannot look up?  What leads us to tunnel vision and ministry confusion?  How do we become stuck in the quick sand of self gratification?  What is the answer and where are we called?

Are we so over-loaded with the grief all around us that we just throw up our hands and turn the other way?  Does it seem there is no answer--the problem is so GREAT?

My answer--in my rational--logical moments--is ONE STEP AT A TIME!  One student who is struggling in a vast sea of students--  One young mother who is struggling to raise her children with no support--One disabled neighbor who needs physical help--One lonely face that needs a kind word...Take the task before me---stay focused upon it---and pray others will do the same.  THEN there will be a difference---by each of us focusing on what we are called to do---Change will occur.

"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."
Philippians 2:4


MERCY!  I find myself pleading "Mercy" quite often.  Almost every time I go to my weights class--at some point---and often at MANY points when we finish a body part--I exclaim loudly, "MERCY!"  The instructor is VERY gifted at ignoring my pleas--and off we go to the next body part.  In fact---sometimes I seem to intensify her efforts to drag my sorry excuse for a body back into shape.  Often I wonder if I wore my age on a tag around my neck if she would cut me a little slack---that would probably backfire on me too!

The sun is shining---the temperatures are warming--and ONCE AGAIN--I decide I need to hit the road.  My idea of hitting the road these days is walking.  Interestingly, this part of Fort Worth is VERY hilly ---very similiar to Ruston.  If you head to the western edge of Fort Worth--it flattens out and stays flat until you fall off the edge of the road into New Mexico.  Perhaps on a really clear day--you can see all the way to New Mexico from here--it is that flat!  I diverge---this seemed like a really good idea---I began walking at the Y on the treadmill (YUCK!)--and now I have hit the roads again.  As I climb those hills---I manage to restrain myself until I crest the top---but at that point---I plead "MERCY"!

I love having my sweet little grands over---BUT after a couple of hours and them pulling EVERY thing out ---and strewing it from one end to the other and eating every loose morsel in my kitchen--with a trail of crumbs throughout the house---I often exclaim "MERCY!" as they walk out the door and I survey the damage.

Are you seeing the pattern?  I am pleading for mercy AFTER the fact---NOT when I am in the midst of the moment!  AFTER I have tried to handle the moment of struggle/crisis/pain myself AND failed, THEN I cry out MERCY!

I am so thankful that God has poured His mercy over me---before I make my mess.  As I walk through the day---struggle with my inadequacies--face lonely moments---veer off the path----His mercy covers me.  Jesus---OH JESUS---He provided the cover---He supplies the mercy.  What a wonderful gift!

"The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works."
Psalms 145:9


Did you know---that muscles have memory?  It is a FACT--or so I am told.  When running--you train your muscles to run a certain pace.  Marathon training involves running MANY miles at the pace or close to it that you hope to finish the marathon with.  If you do not suffer an injury, cramps, or a dozen other things that can happen, it really works.  It worked for me until the last few miles.  I always wondered if I trained all the way up to the 25 miles if I could then maintain that pace the entire time.  Instead I would maintain the pace until a mile after my longest training run---and then my muscles began screaming.  Training for a marathon involves adding a mile a week---so your muscles are used to going that additional mile--BUT not four more miles at the same pace.  They remember what you have taught them.

Olympians train their muscles by repetitively practicing their sport--routine--over and over.  Even if their mind disengages---their body and its muscles can go on automatic pilot and accomplish the task.  Any athlete will tell you it requires practice and LOTS of it---to perform and perform well.

Camille recently talked me into going to a zumba class with her.  The instructor at the beginning of the class announced this involves muscle memory and you will catch on with time.  My hip muscles revolted and announced they did NOT know how to wiggle to a Latin rhythm while also waving my hands.  I am certain there was a time in my life when I could gyrate like that--but my muscles do not remember. It was so much fun that I am going back and teaching my muscles this new movement---and then I am buying one of these belts that one of the class members had on:

Who KNEW exercise could be such fun!

The things we do over and over--they become second nature--no thought required.  What is the first thing you do in the morning that requires thought?  Certainly not getting out of bed---or the trip to the bathroom---or whatever other steps you ritualistically take every morning.  It is a natural flow--found over time--with repetitiveness.  Many parts of our day are filled with these practiced routines which happen automatically--no thought required.

We also have a spiritual muscle memory.  By practicing--prayer, time in The Word, listening for Him, worshiping OVER AND OVER, we are teaching our spiritual side to remember.  THEN when the chips are down--life is falling apart--you are reeling in grief--you can go on automatic pilot and LEAN IN!  What you have taught your soul, heart, and mind will surface and take over--even when you cannot think beyond the moment---you will KNOW He is there. You have trained yourself to know where to turn by your day in- day out practicing.  Such a comfort to know--when your mind is blank and the world is upside down. MEMORY TAKES OVER--AND HE IS THERE!

"16 Be joyful always, 17 pray at all times, 18 be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus."
I Thessalonians 5:16-18


"Growing old is a gift--not a curse.  Otherwise we would all be babies wailing to be fed."

It truly is a joy to see my friends---older than me---growing old with grace and dignity.  I am blessed with many good examples of finishing well and I am watching and taking notes.  For after all, it is just around the corner. If you put your life on a timeline---mine is growing short. 

 What constitutes finishing well?  

Serving as long as you are physically able---and even then there is service through prayer.  We can all pray---

Surrounding yourself with good friends--good times---living life in the company of others.

Keeping your eyes and ears open---listening and looking for the opportunities that God is placing in your path.

Keeping your eyes off your navel and cherishing the world around you.

Using the gifts you have been lavished with in acts of love.

Cherishing the family you are blessed with.

Weep when you must---but laugh and laugh and laugh

Today is all we are promised--and even it may be shortened.  So I am grabbing hold---making the most---of the moment before me---endeavoring to finish well.  What greater legacy--than to have loved the Lord with all my heart and been used for His good purpose---while finding joy in the moment.

"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."
Psalms 90:12


There is an empty place at the table.  As you sit at your table  with an empty chair it is a  stark reminder of your loss.  The longing is intense as you stare at that empty spot and no one else can ever replace the one who claimed that reserved spot.

Whatever the reason for the loss---loss is loss---and pain is pain--the day to day struggle remains the same.  Is there any answer?  The sharp intense pain may ease with time, but that chair remains empty and can never be filled again.  The crippling pain lessens, but the dull ache---it resurfaces each time you stare at that empty chair.

Reminded this weekend by a sweet friend of the huge hole left in a heart when loss  occurred.  She told me, "My heart aches to hold her."  The stark face of grief in a few short words hit me full in the face.  I struggled with an answer to that which has no explanation and words are only empty platitudes of good intent.

My attempt at an answer-In God there is no time---no days to mark a loss.  In heaven there is no calendar, only eternity stretching before you in the glorious presence of the Most High.  The chair is empty, and this is the day to lean into Him in trust.  There are no good answers---but there is hope and assurance of eternal life.  Someday the space will be filled and all the chairs full--but for now---
     LEAN IN.

"Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."
I Peter 5:7


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I am clinging--


The emails were flying this week here in the hood!  It seems a dog almost exactly like this little cutie was wandering around lost in the neighborhood--reminiscent of the Israelite's wandering the desert for 40 years.

I lost count at around 30 when the neighbors were reporting spotting's, putting out food, wondering whose dog he was, etc.  FINALLY they came up with a plan for capturing the unexpecting  runner.  Since he would not let anyone get near him, it was an intricate plan---wars have had less planning.  They celebrated BIG TIME when one neighbor finally was successful at his capture.  I quote, "Our baby (dog also) was out for a walk with daddy and the precious fellow followed them home."  SERIOUSLY!  And THEN one neighbor sent a slightly sarcastic email wondering why the neighbors were NOT more concerned with a sidewalk for the children to walk home from school on.  There has been a request to ask the City Council to extend one of the walks to protect the children and it seems some are more concerned with the welfare of the canines in the hood than the safety of the children.

The other big happening in the hood dealt with the nearby train tracks.  I am very close to downtown, but also not far from the train yards--the tracks are about half a block away.  There is a LOT of train traffic--but I had grown accustomed to hearing them in the apartment and they do not bother me.  THEN one morning this week the train horn blew for 10-15 minutes---solid--no stopping at 6 AM!

ANOTHER flurry of emails.  The neighbors are calling the train company---and up in arms---surely it must have been an emergency.  The story finally gets "found out"--someone broke into the engine and had a "Whistle Party".  The whistle blew until the police arrived to end the party.  Every little boy dreams of blowing the train whistle.

I volunteered at the Cowtown Race Packet pickup yesterday.  I have a new and profound respect for the volunteers that put these races on.  It was Organized Chaos!  I must say that runners are some of the most polite people.  I loved it and ALMOST got the bug to run again---and then I remembered!

It has been a super busy week!  I am back painting --the apartment has to be painted before it can be rented.  Someone smoked in it---so it has to be kiltzed and painted.  GROAN!  I had central air put in it and will start my next career as a landlord soon.  NO NEED TO APPLY if you enjoy shenanigans!

AND I found Elvis--he is alive and well here in FW!


We have all become addicts---and as with all addictions---we are deep in our compulsion--out of control--and headed for destruction.  We are unable to stop our lives of comparison and unable to accept our uniqueness.  Looking to our left--looking to our right---looking across the street--down the street--up the street--we are never satisfied with whom we are or what we have--but are constantly comparing ourselves to those who surround us.  The world has become a "Forest of Measuring Sticks" and we are unable or unwilling to break the hold of the need to compare.

We step up on the scale--and measure our size.  Too FAT---Too Thin--Too Tall --Too Short in a land of giants.  We glance at the advertisements on television---we look through a magazine ---we watch the movies---and they all tell us the perfect size to strive for.  You must weigh 123.456 pounds to be perfect.  Frustrated we step on the scale each and every day---glance at the measure seeking perfection--and only have our imperfection stare back at us.

We are searching for the perfect score---on a quest for a ten---in need of being on top--and when you get to what you think is the top---there is ALWAYS someone else---a step ahead of you.  Our measuring sticks become our weapons of self destruction and we loose sight of the goal---the true goal.

As we day after day--scale the ladder of success--we find the tower of accomplishment a fragile --shaky --treacherous climb---and we stay a breath away from a slip and a fall.  We allow comparison to rob us of our joy.  There is no glass ceiling-no top wrung---only a draining--exhausting climb--of endless length---with never a glimpse of the top--and no chance of completion.

Break the measuring stick---throw out the scale--get off the ladder--quit looking around.  Instead look up---and delight in His delight---You are perfect in  His sight.  Created in His image---bound for His glory---measured in great love---strive to only please Him--and the rest---it will not matter at all.

 “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.”
Psalm 63:3


Everywhere I have turned lately--I am hearing about the Israelites and their 40 years of meandering around the wilderness.  It has lead to a great soul searching.  I told our Small Group tonight---I seem to need to go to the cave-and spend some time alone with God.  I have sat on the back row far too long---and it is time to go down with "The BIG OBEY".  Time to quit mumbling, grumbling, murmuring, complaining, doubting and living in fear. I need to believe the truth of God's Word over my circumstances.

As I have searched my soul---it has brought to the surface---Why do I write?  Is it for His good purpose--as I profess---or is it self seeking---self serving--quest for desperately sought after affirmation?  I confess---there is a deep hole in my soul which is craving approval.  It is a black hole--that is never sated--and always hungry.  Starving for a good word--a nod--any form of approval.  It does not matter why it is there---it does matter that I do not allow God's approval to be enough.  It sickens me and I am disgusted with my shallowness.

I am like those desert wanders, I am living in "Deliverance instead of freedom".  Why would I choose to live in the wilderness when I could be living free?  Time to put aside the fear of tomorrow and live in the reality of today---God's reality.  Exactly like those sojourners of long ago, "I came out of Egypt, but Egypt is still in me."  

I am allowing a moment to define every other moment in my life.  Have I left behind the comfort of victim hood---or am I allowing it to affect everything around me?  Am I frozen in the moment--or am I moving forward.  I really had thought I had moved on--but in the dark recesses of my heart---that moment has shaped who I have become.  A dark cloud of cynicism and distrust hangs heavily over me---and it is time to blow that cloud away.

I am built to run the good race.  Never the fastest--but built to run and run long---endurance is my gift.  Gifted as we all are with precious gifts to be used for His good purpose.  It is time to trust---believe---know---Who is faithful---Who will supply my every need---Who will be by my side.  TRUST HIM----REALLY REALLY TRUST HIM!  Know His approval of me---how He loves me---how proud He is of me--His daughter. I need to get off the throne and down on my knees in obedience.  Stopping---in His presence--waiting for His Word--and following His lead---in obedience--in trust--in love. And when I write---write for Him and His Good Glory--being content with His nod of approval.


"Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the nations of the earth; for all the earth belongs to me"
Exodus 19:5 


There was a time in my life--
a time that I guarded my heart
Protecting it from all pain and suffering
A Wall around it which left no room
For Tears to fall--

I felt sorry for you--0r so I thought
Giving lip service to my sympathy
Wishing you comfort in your pain
Hoping tomorrow was a better day

And Then--God taught me how to weep
I tried my hardest to be strong
The pain was too great 
It broke through the resolve
The tears began to fall

Once the dam was broken
They rained down in a storm
A flood of tears in my brokenness
All stoicism melted away

Jesus taught me how to weep
And now--now the tears fall freely
I see your great pain 
And I know your heartbreak
I look at you--and I weep

I weep for the loss of your loved one
Life of two as one--interrupted too soon

I weep for the loss of your child
This should never be--losing a child far too early

I weep for your worry--your pain--your struggle
As you wonder how you will make this day

I weep for those who have no families
For the legion of unwanted and cast away.

I weep for those who are hungry and cold
With no hope for tomorrow.

I weep for those cast aside--sold for gain
Who must wonder why they exist.

I weep for all who are alone
Surrounded by the bleakness of no love

I weep--I weep for you all--
Jesus taught me how to weep
How to look upon your sorrow
And to feel your great pain

I cannot hear your story
I cannot know your loss
I cannot acknowledge your struggle
Without the tears falling

It was a painful lesson
Learning how to weep
I am so glad He loved me so much
That he taught me how to cry

I am weeping with you, Friend
And as I weep I also pray
For His nearness and comfort
As we walk along this path

For your courage as you struggle
For your faith to sustain you
For your trust to only grow
Until we cry no more

For now--I weep with you

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever."
Revelation 21:4


One of my dear sweet-loved ones contacted me recently and asked a leading question.  A question that I spent a night mulling over before replying--for it is a very sensitive and emotionally charged issue.  They asked me, "Is it wrong to wear my wedding rings, when my marriage seems to be over and my spouse has moved on?"  Is there even a right or wrong answer to this symbolic admission to the end of a marriage?

My reply began with the reminder that our outer adornments are often an indication of our heart.  They are hesitant to take off their wedding rings--because their heart desires the continuation of the marriage and family.  I also told them that it takes two to make a marriage, and wearing a wedding ring does not make a marriage.  If one of the two has left the marriage--resumed life as a single person or begun another relationship--there are no longer two--and one does not make a marriage.  The rings at this time become null of meaning and no longer symbols of the marriage, but only reminders of the past and what had been.  I do understand, as my sweet Camille reminded me recently over another symbol of marriage, it is still part of our history.

 I have great respect for those who have lost their spouses to death and continue to wear their wedding rings.  It is a clear indication this marriage is continuing--even with one no longer physically here on this earth---that is an entirely different issue.  Neither spouse ever desired to leave the other and the marriage is intact--even with one gone ahead.

If we strip ourselves of all external adornment, what is left is the real us.  What do others see when they gaze upon us naked of symbols and adornment?  When they look in our eyes--gaze upon our face---do they see the beauty of Christ or only a blank canvas?  There will come a day when we all will be stripped of all adornment and symbols of whom we desire the world to see us as---what then?  We all will go before the throne without accompaniment and face judgement naked of worldly symbols.  Will The Father gaze upon Christ when He looks to us in judgement--or will the Father see an empty canvas stripped of adornment and guilty in His sight?  A full circle of thoughts--just as the ring is a full circle of commitment--adornments of marriage--symbolic of God's desire for a continuation of our earthly marriages and well as the marriage of Christ to the church--intended for eternal purpose.

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; "
Ephesians 5;27-28


There are many similarities, but also MANY differences in living in a large city after a lifetime of small town life.  The city's refuse department picks up my garbage---just like in Ruston  EXCEPT--only once a week AND you have to have ALL the garbage contained within the can--WITH the lid closed.  I got a not so nice note when my lid was only partially closed recently AND they did not pick up the garbage that day.  Since I have a garage apartment and a can for it also, I took care of that problem the next week.  We also recycle here in FW--I was always sad that did not happen in R.

Just like R-there are speed limit restrictions for school zones.  There is also a $200 fine if you use your cell in a school zone AND they are watching---not only cell use--but also observing the speed limit.  The schools start at different times, so you must be observant of the flashing lights AND you are not allowed to use your cell ANYTIME in a school zone.  GOOD LAW!  I am all for protecting our sweet children.

One significant difference I have noted is the Traffic Lights.  In R it is rather simple--Red/Yellow/Green & Green Arrow for left turns.  It is NOT so simple here---with LOTS of traffic and a convergence and then divergence of traffic in all directions at many lights-the system is MUCH more complicated.  It must take an engineer to figure out this complicated system.  The thing that I really notice is not the complication of the system, but the length of the lights.  It sometimes seems I sit at a red light for 10 minutes.  I am sure my short patience span in traffic is creating an exaggeration of the facts.  I have not timed the length-just giving you my perception.  It is definitely a long light!  The lights are for a reason--it is all about my safety---I seem to forget that while stopping and waiting.

So it seems at times with my life---God has me at FULL STOP--and my patience sometimes grows thin.  I want a green light at all times--all systems go---not even a need for caution.  I forget it is all for my good and He has my best interest at heart.  He has His reasons for slowing me down and perhaps even bringing me to a halt.  Just as I trust those traffic lights are meant to keep me safe--I need to remember--He is more trustworthy than any thing else in my life.  It is all about His perfect timing and master plan.  I need to keep my eye upon the road and wait for the green light--knowing He controls the stop and go with great love and for His good purpose. There is a time and a purpose for stopping---He is the engineer and I am looking to Him to give me the green light--but for now---I am at a full stop.

"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!"
Psalm 27:14


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We had a hero return to his wife and daughter this week in the hood.

The streets in the hood were lined with flags welcoming the fighter pilot back!  It warmed my heart!

(Sorry for photographer's goofs---cannot figure out how to use "Paint" to fix the pictures, but it will come--bear with me.)

And then there is the school where I volunteer.  My sweet little student LOVED her Valentine and we made one for her mother and daddy.

A short walk from my cottage I see these gatehouses--announcing the entrance into another neighborhood.

This gives NEW meaning to underground parking.  I have a storm cellar--these neighbors have an entire garage underground.  I did wonder if they have an interior stairway up to their home.  Look to the right of the garage doors and you see an exterior staircase to their home---but SURELY they have an interior one also!

This week crime stats & emails might lend some to be concerned--a murder and many car burglaries----LOTS of lost/found  dogs--and various other hood business.  I met another neighbor--had an invite for a picnic at the park--all from being out and working in the yard. Going to SO love the front porch sitting!

Busy week coming in the hood---my first "Neighborhood Association Meeting". There is POWER in unity!  I am leading an orientation Small Group for my church for 7 weeks beginning this week.   I have volunteered for the "Cowtown Marathon" and will be handing out packets.  My first time on the "Other Side" of the table.  And THEN--I have been invited to a "Dinner-Silent Auction-Fundraiser".  Meeting new people---can that be bad?


Today is Valentine's Day---a holiday that in all truth can be extremely difficult for those of us who are single.  It can be a reminder of our aloneness-

The media bombards us--you begin to feel as if the entire world consists of couples--except for you.  Everyone seems to be celebrating the day as two.  I scheduled a massage a month ago for this day--in an effort to celebrate and enjoy.  I had a call last week---they needed me to reschedule my appointment because of all the couple massage requests coming in---I cancelled my appointment.  Banging my head against the wall is quite painful--and sitting in a waiting room filled with loving couples would be the equivalent of head banging.  I am overjoyed when I see a happy couple-it
 takes two to make it work-but I need to know my aloneness is OK too.


My head KNOWS this is NOT reality--the world is not filled with loving couples.  I have a plethora of single friends----but my heart---it is difficult to speak reality to my heart. Today is a difficult day---when you are alone-

Today will pass and tomorrow will once again come--until then I am reminded of the true meaning of LOVE-

I Corinthians-
13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

1But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.


"To love is to lay oneself open for loss.  That is the bargain we make with ourselves, because it is worth it."

Today is Valentine's Eve- -the entire world is preparing for a grand celebration tomorrow.  I am thinking of the quote above and remembering to be thankful.  We will all suffer the pain of loss---if we love---sooner or later--we must endure the pain.  One of the keys to enduring the loss is remembering the blessing that came with loving someone.  There is always a blessing and things which make it all bearable.

My Children

My Grandchildren

Such Blessings And A Wonderful Legacy!

There is another far-far greater than me--who loved us---and left Himself open to the pain.  The pain He endured that we might live and love is beyond our comprehension.  Today I am focusing on the lessons in love that He has taught me--selfless love--love with a cost---a high price--and yet He still loved us--knowing the pain to come--He gave Himself and taught us the true meaning of love---He is the author and the creator--He teaches me how to love each and every day and He has faithfully held me each step of the way. If we love Him--if we follow Him--it is worth it---even when we suffer pain---He is worth it.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will  know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
John 13:34-35