What if you were given the Code

A couple weeks ago I listened to Alpha$IXX on Clubhouse ask the question “If it is really important, “wouldn’t you want to be given or figure out the code?” It came after #riseandgrind Glenn Lundy asked three questions on three different days that week. 1) What do I actually believe I can accomplish in my life? 2) What if it actually happened? And 3) Who loses if I don’t try to become the best version of me? Alpha$IXX used the analogy of someone standing on one side of a tall gate with a desire to be able to gain access to what was on the other side. Stop for a moment or for, as I did, a few days and think about what the other side represents to you.

What if you really believed that getting inside that gate would allow you to actually accomplish what you truly want for your life? Wouldn’t you do anything to figure out the code to the gate. There are many ways that could be done but the best way is to find someone who already knows the code. Someone who cares and wants you to have everything this life has for you. It made me think of all the athletes who are striving to make the Olympics right now. Watching Zach Harting make the Olympic swim team was an example of this concept. Since he was 7 he stood outside the gate thinking about becoming an Olympic athlete. He shared his feelings about the thrill of it actually happening. He had realized the code through those who coached him along the way. As he thought about winning his spot on the team, he answered question 3 by saying, “I will not let you down” If he had not tried to realize his dream, so many would not have felt the thrill of his realizing the code and watching the gate to Tokyo open for him. How many of us stand outside the gate every day wishing it would open but not doing anything to find someone or some way to gain access? It takes stepping forward out of our fear, lack of confidence, or complacency for us to have a chance to experience our own dreams being realized.

What does the gate represent for you? On this Father’s Day weekend, is it that you want the ability to be the best parent you can be? Does it mean you want to be a better son or daughter? Like Zach Harting, Is it that you want to achieve greater success in your endeavors or your business? No matter the dream, finding someone you trust who knows the code is easier than trying to figure out the code on your own. Someone or a group of people that can help you through what I call the 6 D’s of becoming a better version of yourself. It starts with the DREAM. You then need to DESIGN the plan and DEVELOP strategies to accomplish the Plan. The next two DESIRE and DISCIPLINE will launch you toward the DESTINATION you envisioned as only a dream at first.

So what is stopping you? Why can’t this new version of you start today? Think about your own 6 D’s. Ask yourself the questions What should I keep doing? What things or thoughts do I need to stop? What new practices can I start? Device to cross the T off I Can’t and have an attitude of I CAN because you believe in yourself. Think about and be motivated by what it will feel like when your gate opens and all the people that will benefit because you with the help of others figured out the Code.

In my next blog post, I will share my own thoughts on finding the Code and what it has done to fulfill my life and hopefully make an impact on others. Please subscribe to this blog if you want to get email notification when new content is posted. You can reach me by email at michael@mrg7175.com

Running the race with purpose.

Finding a way to be thankful in all things depends on how you choose to run this race called life. I renamed my recovery from Guillain Barre the “180 Project” because I had two goals. 1) I wanted God to use the lessons He taught me through the adversity. I asked for Him to transform me into more and more the man He created me to be so I could be used fir His purposes. 2) I wanted my weight to once again be in the 180’s preferably 180) where it hadn’t been in a very long time. #1 has come a long way but I am still a work in progress but #2 is in sight (182 as I write) http://thankfulinallthings.com/tag/transformed/  My mantra became and has continued to be RISE UPP!!  RESOLVED INTENTIONAL STRIVING for ETERNAL things with UNDENIABLE PURPOSE/PASSION. 

My dear friend, Pamela Bunn, writes “Life is a long race, God our trainer, and holiness (and heaven) our goal. Without good physical, mental, and spiritual posture, we are hindered from running it well. Between the cloud of witnesses (who have completed the race) to encourage us at the start, and the finish line that yields the fruit and crown of righteousness, our heavenly coach tends to us personally for our good. His instruction, His example, and His tools are useful and effective in accomplishing His purposes.” Visit her blog at https://astherainandsnow.com/

Each of us need a cloud of witnesses to encourage us along the way. It is very hard to go at life transformation alone. This African proverb says it well. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far go together.” Here are some of my encouragers 🙂

Grateful to have these folks show up to encourage us along the way

Jodie Berndt shares this about the importance of friendships. -“We can start with prayer but God created us for connection; we are hard-wired, science tells us, for love. We can ask God to give us—and make us—good friends, and to open our eyes to the life-giving relationships he wants us to cultivate.” https://jodieberndt.com/jodie-berndts-blog-posts/

Paul sums it up this way in 1st Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” I can in my own way say the same. I have fought the good fight through Guillain Barre Syndrome and then being impacted by the self-isolation of Covid. I have not yet finished the race but I have kept the faith which has become even more real through these seasons of challenge and adversity. I can personally attest to the fact that, whatever you are going through, God is right there with you. Look to Him for all things. Like me, you will find Him in every place and every time.

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“Is your Attitude on Straight?”

I worked for Coldwell Banker back in the 1990’s. Dick Purvis was my boss but also an incredible mentor. He had all of his management team wear a lapel pin with the word Attitude. When he saw you or communicated with us, he would say, “put on a positive attitude and make sure it is on straight.” It became a daily affirmation with all of us much like “How will I make a positive difference in the world today” which I have been saying since the early 80’s. This blog is called Thankful in All Things for a reason. I started writing it to share lessons I have learned through adversity. It comes from finding life is better by having an attitude of gratitude which recently reminded me of Dick’s lapel pin.

When you look honestly at yourself, how do you feel about your attitude? If you find that you look at the glass and see it half empty vs half full, think about why what might be causing your pessimism or negativity? Are you an Adder, Subtractor, Multiplier or a Divider?   https://www.codeprocess.io/adder-subtractors-multipliers-dividers-the-types-of-people/ As I wrote about a couple weeks ago, we need to FACE our thoughts, TRACE what causes us to feel that way, ERASE it, and then find a way to REPLACE it with a positive mindset moving forward. This is what Dick meant when he would encourage us to have our attitude on straight.

Philippians 2:2-4 explains how having a Christ like mindset will keep our attitude in the right place. Paul writes, “Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Charles Stanley explains it this way. “My limited human perspective doesn’t allow me to grasp His greater plan. However, I can confirm the truth of this biblical promise because the Father’s good handiwork appears all through my pain, hardship, and loss. I have experienced Him turn mourning into gladness and have seen Him reap bountiful blessings and benefits from my darkest hours.”

The truth that Charles writes about can set you free. John 8:31,32 states, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Free to live a life that allows you to face the challenges this life brings, conquer your fears, not seek others approval, but instead, live for an “audience of One” Who you can trust with the outcome. The One who created you and made you who you are. Knowing there is no one else like you and your are here for a purpose will help you keep that attitude on straight.

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Who is the person you see in the mirror?

I was recently challenged by Glenn Lundy to read the above poem. I read it with new eyes given what I have gone through over the last couple of years what with Guillain Barre www.caringbridge.org/visit/Michaelguthrie in 2019 and Covid in 2020. You might find it helpful to do the same focusing on how you have dealt with your own adversities. Find a mirror and take a look. WHO DO YOU SEE? Have you changed for the good over these last 14 months? Are you in better shape physically or have you put on the Covid 19? How have you grown as a person or have you, given the lock down, hit the pause button on becoming a little better each and every day? Isn’t it interesting how doing a self check by looking in the mirror can raise so many questions?? On a side note, I will never hear this song in the same way 😀 https://youtu.be/PivWY9wn5ps

WHAT DO YOU SEE? Are you happy with the person who is looking back at you? I talked to a friend who used to shave in the dark because he knew he was out of shape. It wasn’t until his wife challenged him with some tough love that he decided to make a change. He now feels a lot better about the man in the glass. What do you say to the person so that you will want to become a better version of yourself? I have three. 1) How will you make a positive difference in the world today. 2) What will I do today that will move me closer to my goals? 3) Luke 10:27 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” I love you Lord and I will do my best to love others as you love me. When I do, I will trust You with the outcome of my actions.

WHAT DON’T YOU SEE? Recently, Dottie noticed a bump on my back that she thought had grown. Try as I might, even with other mirrors, I could not see it. It was a blind spot for me. I challenge you to read Miles McPherson’s book, The Third Option. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38532169-the-third-option He shares that we all have blind spots in our lives. Just like I needed Dottie to point out mine on my back, we need others in our lives who can lovingly share, like my friend’s wife, that there are things holding us back from serving others while becoming the new creation God promises us when we come to know Him. (PS-I did go to the doctor for the bump and it is nothing serious:)

WHO ELSE DO YOU SEE? When you gaze directly in the mirror, what you see is you. However, when you move just a bit peering into the same glass, others come into your vision. This thought encourages me to remember, it is not always about my life, but the life of theirs around me. It motivates toward having a more wide angled lens approach to those who God has cross my path. My hope and my prayer for you is that your reflection will provide God’s guiding light for those who are traveling through the darkness of depression or discouragement. Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ 

This poem captures it all. Same words read differently say the exact opposite.

As you look in the mirror, which of the poem’s perspective will you strive for moving forward. If you found this blog post helpful, please subscribe so that you can receive email notifications when I post new content. I can be reached by email at michael@mrg7175.com

How maintaining your computer teach you about you?

My computer was running slower than normal the other day. I am sure this happens to you from time to time as well. When trouble shooting the problem, I realized that I had over twenty different applications open at the same time. No wonder it’s operating system couldn’t keep up. This led me to think about what I have learned about rest and reset dince my bout with Guillain Barre in 2019. Throughout the day, I engage in many different activities and conversations. I may be only focused on one or two of them at a time but the rest, like the programs on my computer, remain open. They can sap my energy without me knowing it. I hope the following comparisons to your computer and your life will be helpful.

1) Make sure you have the right operating system. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

2) Set times throughout the day to consciously close down things you have finished or will continue working on later. I set alarms on my phone at 6, 9, noon, 3, 6 and 9 for this very reason. I remind myself to Be still and know that I have a God who wants there to be peace and not anxiety in my life. It is like defragging the hard drive. Taking the time to remove the Thoughts, fears, and anxieties things that limit our capabilities and focusing on the abundance God has provided in my life. The First15 devotional shares, “God’s love has the ability to completely overwhelm and satisfy every one of our needs. Everything he gives us satisfies, transforms, and leads us to abundant life.” “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.” ISAIAH 66:13

3) I heard someone online the other day share this thought when faced with challenges or defeats. This can be used in your personal life as well as professionally. In each situation, we must Face it, Trace it, Erase it, and then Replace it. One must first FACE and be conscious of what is causing the dilemma. We then must TRACE back to where the problem originated. When we find that place, event or thought, we need to ERASE it and then move forward by REPLACING that negative place with a new mindset. Replace old thoughts with new thoughts w affirmation, word tracks, and memorizing scripture This allows us to become our newest version of our best self. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! It is not unlike a System reboot, a Full on reset. Like Zephaniah 3:17 exhorts, “The LORD your God is in your midst, Victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Rejoice and in spite of the challenges you face no matter what they might be. 

We have the latest versions on our phones and computers, why not make sure we have the latest version of ourselves?

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The challenge of wearing a mask…….

I read a devotional this week written by Beth Ann Nichols. It really got me thinking about how wearing a mask has changed how I relate with people. Beth Ann shared, “Never before have we looked into the eyes of our fellow man more than during this pandemic. With masks covering our smiles, our frowns and our quivering lips, we’re left with the eyes to tell our stories—and to “listen” to the stories of others.” I realized that I have to be more intentional on letting folks, whose paths I cross, know that I care. The mask itself shows I care because I am wearing it, not only for my own health, but also to make others feel comfortable being around me. What it doesn’t do is let people know I am smiling. It has also caused me to not engage with people as I did before Covid.

Matthew 6:22 says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. You draw light into your body through your eyes, and light shines out to the world through your eyes. So if your eye is well and shows you what is true, then your whole body will be filled with light.” Luke 11:33 shares “We are not to light a lamp and put it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl (or mask 😀) Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eyes are the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light”. When Jesus speaks of eyes and light, He means all people should keep their eyes on God because the eyes are the windows to the soul.” Beth Ann goes on to ask, “What do people see when they look into your eyes? When they’re forced to hold your gaze, do they see kindness, gentleness, joy? This has caused me to think about how a mask and staying social distanced has caused me to be less thoughtful about making people I encounter that they are seen and appreciated. Her exhortation motivated me this week to find ways to make sure people whose paths I cross know that I appreciate them. How?

I have started focusing on others eyes above their masks. It is amazing what we see when I look into theirs? I have learned that so many are feeling lonely, discouraged and are experiencing an emptiness. I am trying to initiate some interaction even with my mask and staying social distanced. People are at first surprised but are so grateful because like me, a lot of us have withdrawn without even knowing it. So my encouragement to you is give it a try. Step out and reach out to someone today. Each of us can help the world find its new normal. A normal where we all can show each other we care and want the best for them. Go out and shine the light.

Zephaniah 3:17 sings over us all. “The LORD your God is in your midst, Victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Rejoice inspite of the challenges you face no matter what they might be.  As my friend Don Sankey reminds me every day, even behind your mask, #makesomeonesmiletoday “Let your smile change the world but don’t let the world change your smile.” author unknown

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Sometimes it is a whisper, sometimes a nudge

The scripture above says, Jesus knocks on the door of your heart but only you can let Him into your life.
Once I opened the door to my heart and allowed Him to take residence, I have experienced that He keeps on knocking, nudging, and whispering to us. He does this so we can live out Hebrews 10:24 “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”

There are a couple of things we need to do for Him to use us in this way. 1) Take time to stop and listen. Psalm 46:10 says we are to “Be still and know that He is God.” Think about your own life. When you are busy and focused on something, you don’t hear what someone near you might be saying or notice that they might need your help. How then can we hear what God is asking of us if are not taking the time to listen to what He has to say or what He want us to learn?

I am write this post to share and encourage you to tune in and listen to God who wants to share with us what He wants us to do. The simplest of acts can have an impact. Sister Jean B. Bingham says it this way. “Sometimes we think we have to do something grand and heroic to ‘count’ as serving our neighbors. Yet simple acts of service can have profound effects on others — as well as on ourselves.” We are called to share. https://www.calledtoshare.com/2020/04/27/shoulder-taps-and-gods-timing/ We are called to live out the scripture, James 2:14 “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? The beauty of acting out our faith is the more we exercise acting on the whispers and nudges, the more He shows us how to let others know we care. Sometimes it is just a text, a phone call, a timely handwritten note. We might drop bagels or some other treat for no apparent reason other than they came to mind. There is power in simply following up with someone after you have said you would pray for them. It is uncanny that no matter the act, time and time again people will say, “how did you know?”, “You doing this came at the perfect time”, or “You have no idea how much this meant to me” I have also been struck recently by how God leads me to answers at a time where I have been challenged in some way. I will read something in a book or the Bible or listen to a devotional that speaks so clearly to my present circumstance.

The key to acting on what God has for you is not doing it for your own gratification. It is not about getting recognition or being patted on the back. It is about opening your heart and mind so that God can tell you who He wants you to serve. A friend calls it “doing awesome things quietly” My dear friend Pamela prays it this way. “Lord, help me discern Your voice and follow You first, the One uniquely worthy of my surrender and allegiance. And may my following You be a draw for others to follow You too.”

It really is a simple process if you allow yourself to slow down. In the midst of the quiet, you will begin to have people come into your mind. When they do, act on it. Open the door so God can be present with you in every moment. You will begin to experience the wonder of being His conduit in allowing His Kingdom to come on earth as it will be heaven. In that moment, you will find yourself becoming “thankful in all things”

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It is all about taking that 1st step

Take a moment to reflect. What are you struggling with these days? Where is there doubt in your life? If we are honest, there is not a day that goes by where life doesn’t bring some type of challenge. I heard the quote the other day “life is like a gym membership with a difficult cancellation policy.” Another one is “life is a merry go round with no way of getting off” Sound familiar? As I wrote in my last post, freedom can only be found when we pray and surrender to God’s ways realizing we are not in control. Tim Keller says it this way.
”Tim Keller-“To the degree you can shed the “unreality” of self-sufficiency, to that degree your prayer life will become richer and deeper”. So in the midst of whatever life is throwing at you, the first step is to let go and trust that God will carry you through. The first step has to be ours as a sign of our willingness to trust. You can read about these first steps throughout the Bible. Here are just a few:
Moses picking up the snake trusting it will turn into a staff. Moses placing the staff into the water so that sea would part for his people. Abraham placing his son Isaac on the altar the four men taking their paralyzed friend to Jesus. A father coming to Jesus asking for him to heal his child. The sick woman who reaches forward to touch Jesus’ cloak hoping it will heal her. The Prodigal son turning around and taking the 1st step back toward his father.
The first step for them and for us is placing our hope in and trusting that God is in control no matter what the circumstances. Only then can we begin to experience the freedom to live life in the way it was meant to be lived.

The same thing can be said about taking steps to to build relationships with those with whom we disagree, Jim Denison shares four steps found in the Bible.

  1. Ask the Lord where and how to begin, confident that he will lead us to those he is already preparing for our initiative (cf. Acts 16:9–10).
  2. Pray for the humility to learn what we do not know and to change what we need to change (Philippians 2:3Proverbs 18:12).
  3. Ask for the words to speak and the grace with which to share them, knowing that life transformation is not our work but that of the Spirit (John 16:7–11).
  4. Trust the results to the God who knows our hearts and loves us unconditionally (1 Samuel 16:7Romans 5:8).

As I wrote a couple posts back, it all comes down to where you place your trust. Take the first step today to Love God with all your heart, Love others as He loves you, and then let go and experience the freedom of trusting God with the outcome.

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Do you have to be in control or can you let go?

This week has been an interesting one. It marked two years since I was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome and was left pretty much paralyzed. It is funny how the brain works. Every moment I couldn’t move seemed endless and yet, only two years later, it is hard to conjure up the way I felt. I obviously was unable to control what was happening to my body and was forced to trust that others would know what to do. I did not want to be alone if something happened because I was unable to hit the call button. It was a challenging time. Yet, there was something freeing about giving up everything because I had no choice. Someone else would have to check my emails, Facebook messages, voice mails, pay the bills, etc. My only job was to do what was next to get better and I did.
March 2nd came around again in 2020 and so did this virus called Covid. Little did I know I would lose control again on March 12th when my doctors told me I needed to self-isolate because of my compromised immune system. I had regained my health and now the way I worked, spent time with family, mentored folks, and gave back to the community was turned upside down again. The spring turned to summer, then fall, into winter, and here we are entering spring again.
I continue to learn so much as I journey through these two experiences and other types of adversity. It has not been easy and there have been times I have lost my joy. The beauty though has been experiencing the freedom of letting go. Admitting that there are things going on I can’t control. My only job is to be the best version of me in the present. Taking pride in what I do with each day to make a positive difference with those whose paths I cross. PRIDE in this case is broken down this way.
Personally Responsible for Individual Daily Effort

This focus works whether in business, as a husband, father, brother, grandfather, or a friend. What can I do today to be better in all these relationships. While recovering from GBS or being isolated because of Covid, I had to find other creative ways to be the best version of me knowing there was and is so much I can’t control. So how is it done? Here are my thoughts.
1) instead of fearing or worrying, Trusting that God is in control and wants only good for me. https://www.bible.com/bible/111/PSA.56.3-4.NIV Psalm 56:3
2) do not complain or grumble over things you can’t control. https://biblehub.com/philippians/2-14.htm Instead, find ways to serve others. Philippians 2:14 This will reignite your Joy.
3) remember that “all things work together for the good” https://biblia.com/bible/esv/romans/8/28-30

Finally, I would encourage you to start journaling. When I was paralyzed in the hospital two years ago, Dottie and I got two great pieces of advice. The first was pay attention to the trends. Watch all the numbers. Sometimes the oxygen level, blood pressure or temperature may go the wrong direction but how are they trending over the course of the day. Second, don’t compare the day, compare the week. We kept record so we could see small signs of recovery from one week to the next. Both of these kept us from slipping into discouragement along with our fervent hope that I would get better.
You can do the same in your life not matter what challenge you face. Lean in and find the “eye of the storm”. Know that God is on the journey with you. Nissan Parwar says it this way, “Lord grant me the strength to be content where I am. The patience to wait on your timing and the faith to remember that you have your hand always on my heart” Ask Him to help make you a little bit better today than you were yesterday. Take that first step and then the next. Pretty soon you will look back and be amazed where it takes you and who you have positively impacted along the way.
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Who can we trust?

It has now been a couple of weeks since we watched our elected officials grapple with whether the President of the United States should be impeached for a second time. No matter which side you fell on regarding this decision, I found myself asking these questions. Was it true that the constitution does not allow for an impeachment after they leave office? Did the President know folks were coming to storm the Capitol? Was this just done because the Democrats wanted one more shot at Mr. Trump? Were the news outlets reporting objectively or was their desire to just sell more advertising?
These questions led me back to my main question, Who can we trust? We all have people in our lives that we think we know and to whom we can depend. This was further compounded for me when I heard about two strong Christian leaders who were living sinful private lives while leading thousands to and in their faith journeys. I was saddened to hear this had happened but was not surprised. Why? Because, like many leaders in the bible and like most of us, they fell prey to the things of the world. The end result is, should we choose to place our trust in man, we will ultimately be disappointed. Nor, can our family, friends, and colleagues truly trust us as we will make mistakes as well. The Bible makes it clear in Romans 3:23 that ALL not some “sin and therefore fall short of the glory of God” Meaning, people will disappoint us and we will disappoint others. It also means that there is no one we can truly trust except for God.

So what is the answer? It is that at the end of the day, we are only responsible for ourselves. I don’t mean this in a selfish, “it’s all about me way”. Quite the opposite. we need to have an attitude that no matter what comes our way, no matter how someone else wrongs us, how we respond is the choice we get to make. God exhorts us to “turn the other cheek”. He says “love others as I have loved you.”

It is all about to what are you tethered? Is it to the world or to the One who created you and knows how you best should live. I wrote about this concept a while back. Here is the link http://thankfulinallthings.com/to-what-are-you-tethered/

So how do we do it? If you have been reading my blog, you know Andrew Murray says it happens when we “Abide in Christ” like branches cling to the vine. Gregory Boyd in Present Perfect says we need to remind ourselves that “God is in the Now”. He goes on to say when we strive to honor Him the we can trust in the outcome. When we allow ourselves to detach from God’s presence thinking we can live life on our own power, like a branch, without the vine’s nourishment, like the faith leaders who lost their way, we lose our strength and the ability to live as we were meant to live. Charles Stanley says another way to think of it is to stop and wait. “The word wait has a different sense here—it means “pause for further instructions.” It’s not passivity; rather, we must choose to stop our actions and listen for God’s directive. Sometimes the Lord is silent for a season, but He has a purpose. He knows the perfect time for us to act, and until that moment, He wants us to wait. More strength and character are required to be still in the midst of a storm than to frantically seek our own solution.” May we all go out into our worlds acknowledging our desire to do things under our own power. When we do, the only one we can truly trust, promises to make us strong enough to persevere through whatever challenges or disappointments that come our way. Allowing us to remain “thankful in all things”.

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