Glorious God

Sometimes, not often enough, I get caught up in the wonder, the beauty of God. Today was such a day. I gathered with many Christian women to meet old friends and to make new friends and to sing to our glorious God.

I listened to a speaker as she shared her dreams that she had handed over to God and then released them and forgot about them and found many years later that He did not forget. As a human being and as a writer, I needed to hear her message today. I can hold on to my dreams and rest in the arms of the Great “I Am,” as He called Himself for Moses’ benefit in Exodus 3:14.

He gave her the desires of her heart twenty years after she first expected to see them come to pass. Ten years after she decided it wasn’t for her; she must have misunderstood God’s plan for her life. Then God seemed to say, “Now that you’re forty years old, I’m going to give you a baby from your innermost being.”

She and her husband adopted three children over the span of ten years and they were perfectly content. Yet, the tiny germ of desire for a child with their DNA which laid dormant inside uncoiled as the seemingly impossible occurred. She, the one doctor’s called “highly improbable” to ever have children, twenty years after her wedding, finally got pregnant. She now has a three month old baby and I can’t tell you her name because I didn’t take the time to get the information from the brochures that came my way.

Some people, not having read the Bible, might not understand why God doesn’t give us our way or respond to prayers in our timing. She sounds like an incredible, normal mom. I’m sure she would have loved her baby if she’d had him at age 21 or 22. When she first showed pictures of her children spaced apart, we didn’t know she had adopted those kids. She said in her heart, they feel no different to her than the one she gave birth to. Yet, I think the very fact that she calls this little baby a miracle begs the point that she probably will appreciate him and the other three children more than a mom that didn’t agonize over ever having the opportunity to hear the cries and laughter of children for ten long years.

That’s my opinion, anyway, for all that it’s worth.

This mom and her husband, from the sounds of it, are in total agreement that it is worth praising God and learning more about Him through the trials and the sunshiny days. She exhorted us to go about our business in life and in the faith while waiting for our answers to prayer.

So many people don’t understand how beautiful and loving and kind and just and merciful our God is because they haven’t had the opportunity to read the Bible or people in authority disdained God or withheld permission from their children to search for God.

It’s too bad, really. As it says in 1John_4:16, (ESV): So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

God is love and love is beautiful. God is worthy of our praises for so many reasons.

May God bless you.

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Did He Consider the Consequences?

When I read 2 Samuel 23 today I wished I knew President Trump well enough to have him read the following verses: 2Sa 23:1, (ERV):  These are the last words of David: “This message is from David son of Jesse. This message is from the man God made great. He is the king chosen by the God of Jacob, the sweet singer of Israel.

2Sa 23:2  The LORD’S Spirit spoke through me. His word was on my tongue.

2Sa 23:3  The God of Israel spoke. The Rock of Israel said to me, ‘Whoever rules people fairly, who rules with respect for God,

2Sa 23:4  is like the morning light at dawn, like a morning without clouds. He is like sunshine after a rain that makes tender grass grow from the ground.’

Anyway, then I read to the end of the chapter. David recounts his chief men and tells of their exploits. At the end of the list of thirty-seven heroes that fought valiantly for David and their country, I read Uriah the Hittites’ name.

Now whether Bathsheba bathed on her roof hoping to be seen is not clear in the Scriptures. It does say in 2 Samuel 11:2 that David got up from his bed, went up on the roof and then saw a beautiful woman bathing. Perhaps it was hot and very late, so she thought no one would be out and about to view her at home.

When David asked one of his officers who she was, the man told David her name and the name of her husband. Then he sent messengers to her to come to him. When the most powerful man in the country summons a person, that person goes to see him. If she hadn’t, what would have happened to her and/or to her husband?

David was known for being a godly man. He stayed home from war that Spring. Perhaps he was in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Maybe he felt lonely and was at odds with his wives. Possibly the tempter kept at him and when the enemy of his soul realized he was vulnerable, the evil one set a trap and David fell victim to his desires. He chose to sleep with another man’s wife. He chose to try and cover up his sin and it didn’t work. Then, he chose another sin. He asked his captain to set Uriah in the most dangerous location for a soldier and in doing so, other valiant soldiers died along with him so Uriah’s death didn’t stand out as a plotted event.

Do you ever think God isn’t watching what you’re doing with your life? Somehow, David got so involved in all this, that I think he actually forgot that God knew the intents of David’s heart and that God watched him acting on those intents.

2Sa 11:26  Bathsheba heard that her husband Uriah had died, so she mourned for him.

2Sa 11:27  After her time of sadness, David sent servants to bring her to his house. She became David’s wife and gave birth to a son for David. But the LORD did not like what David had done.

The next chapter in 2 Samuel starts out with Nathan the prophet telling a story that relates to David but it’s hidden from him until David reacts. Then Nathan tells him what the consequences are going to be. When the consequences finally hit, David is so humble as he loses many things that are important to him. It’s no wonder God calls David a man after His own heart, in 1 Samuel 13:14, (KJV). David saw the wrong that he did and he repented before the Lord. He accepted the punishment.

2Sa 15:25  Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me back and let me see both it and his dwelling place.

2Sa 15:26  But if he says, ‘I have no pleasure in you,’ behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.”

He totally surrendered to God.

When I totally surrender to God, day by day, my life goes better and I’m less stressed.

The Case for Christ(photo from Christian Book Distributors website: https://www.christianbook.com)

My youngest brother told me he picked up Lee Strobel’s book, A Case for Christ just lately and then another book on quotes from famous Rock ‘N Roll musicians to keep things balanced. 🙂

I’ve been praying that he’ll find Jesus as his Lord and Savior so he’ll be less stressed for now and for eternity. It’s hard to imagine that God made us so we could be in His family and talk to Him and learn from Him.

As I thought of the opening to this blog and President Trump, I looked for verses in Proverbs about God setting kings into places of power. I found the surrounding verses too good to ignore. So to read Proverbs 8:15-16 in context, I included the verses from Proverbs 8:12-24.

Pro 8:12  “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion.

Pro 8:13  The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Pro 8:14  I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength.

Pro 8:15  By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just;

Pro 8:16  by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly.

Pro 8:17  I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

Pro 8:18  Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness.

Pro 8:19  My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver.

Pro 8:20  I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice,

Pro 8:21  granting an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries.

Pro 8:22  “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old.

Pro 8:23  Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.

Pro 8:24  When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.

God gave David and Bathsheba’s son, Solomon more wisdom than any man on earth. Solomon asked God for wisdom to rule God’s people in a dream and that pleased God. It’s found in 1 Kings 3: 5-15.

I pray for wisdom because we are living in perilous times. I heard on the news yesterday that robots are being made to act as security guards at shopping malls and they should be in service in a year. They weigh 300 lbs. What consequences of that invention will Americans find?

God help us.

I didn’t expect this blog to go this route, but, “it is what it is,” as the saying goes.

May God bless you and protect you. I have some friends that absolutely love Ps. 91, as did my mother-in-law. She was a smart lady.

Joy in Writing

 

Monday night I searched files to see what I would bring to a new writers group I got invited to earlier this year. I chose a devotional I sent out in 2016. I’d been tracking it for quite a while and then I got busy with other things and let it go. I thought: if I bring a devotional that is already published, it probably won’t need much critiquing. So, I got online to check e-mail and sure enough, an announcement from the publisher said they’d accepted the devotional and the tentative date was for September 25, 2016. If you want to check it out I’ve included the link here: http://www.christiandevotions.us/viewblogentry/833

It’s called “For the Love of a Daughter.”

That made my night and then when I found the tucked away home of the writer who invited me, I prayed that it would go well. The last critique group I attended had a writer who criticized my Bible study, Chapter One so harshly, I left wondering if I was delusional and if any talent I thought I had really belonged in the land of dreams. I looked to the leader of the group for a suggestion to lighten up or to be kind, but she remained mute. As I headed home, I thought God said in His still small voice, “I didn’t call you to this group.”

This past year I ran into the leader of the group at a library gathering to hear a poet, and she invited me to attend the writers meeting they host there. I told her “Thank you for asking me,” as I pocketed the slip of paper with the time and day they meet. A Christian friend saw the exchange and encouraged me to join them; she had recently started to attend. I told her I’d pray about it, and I did. I didn’t sense any leading to be a part of their meetings and then this opportunity arose.Writing Groups(photo from http://www.goodsearch.com/search-web?utf8=%E2%9C%93&keywords=writers+group+photos&button=)

The members of the home town gathering may be different by now. Maybe that particular author didn’t feel well that day and so she got cranky over my offering. I don’t know. What I do know is that the group on Monday night was gracious and did line-by-line critiquing where necessary, grammatical editing and gave suggestions on the flow of the work. One lady is beginning a novel and I told her I wanted more description, less telling and more showing without actually using those words. What I did tell her was that I wanted to see what her interaction with her grandmother was like. I wanted her to set the scene.

One of the writers asked me what type of article was I writing, where did I picture it being published? I wrote an essay on health for mature readers, but the market I thought I’d send it to seems to be out of business now.

Then the published author thanked me for making it out and for the contributions I added. She and the others blessed me and I hoped I could bless them. Now that I’ve met them, I’m going to bring a more substantial project. We each had fifteen minutes for the reading of the piece and then the comments from the other wordsmiths. I hope we’re able to continue for a long while. We’ll see what the Lord has in mind for us. I’ve wanted a writer’s group for a number of months. I’ve learned that God’s timing is best. Isaiah_40:31, (KJV) says:  “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

May God bless you.

Get Ready, Get Set, Go!

 

Earlier this week, I wrote in my planner for today, 8:00 a.m. appointment for a doctor’s appointment – that’s not earth shattering, Thank You, God.

Then I wrote, visit a friend – who had a stroke many months ago. She finally got into an apartment possibly eight months ago and I don’t see her very often.

I chose to shop today because my doctor was close to a number of stores, which is not the norm for me. After going to the second store, I called my friend to see if today was good for her. It turned out that she’d be available, so I set up a vague time frame. Then I received a text message. My brother and sister-in-law were going to be passing by and wanted to stop in to see me. I never turn those opportunities down if I can help it because I don’t see them very often.

I called my friend back at a convenience restaurant which was swamped with customers to see if she wanted me to get her a coffee I’d promised to pick up for her, since our time was limited. Her aide said she was downstairs waiting for me and finally the line began to move, so I told her I’d get the coffee after all and to please tell her I was running late. Then, my daughter called. She needed a favor. She has a part time job and her husband wasn’t going to be home in time for her to get to work. Could I please come and babysit for the eighteen month old under their care? That was for about a couple hours after my brother and his wife were due to get to the house and she lives a half hour away.

So, sad but true, my visit with my friend was short and I could feel the caffeine and the adrenaline causing my insides to race. She’s a little more distracted than usual since her stroke. She did laundry and had brought her lunch downstairs to eat while she did laundry and spoke to her aide and to neighbors and fit me in when she could. So, it was a little bizarre anyway.

When I got home, I brought a couple of the purchases inside and put them away and then I started straightening the house up. I lived next door to a lady in the early 1980’s. She did her housework early in the day and finished what she started and gardened for peace of mind and had a place for everything and everything in its place.

My sister-in-law keeps her house tidy and pretty, as well. As they entered I was extremely glad that I’d vacuumed the night before and put some things away. Yet, some things left undone stood up and shouted, “Look at me!” in my imagination. I stifled a groan, swept my arm up and around and said, “You’ll have to take me as I am.”

My gracious sister-in-law smiled and said, “We don’t come to see your house, we come to see you.”

What a sweetheart. Anyway, the phone rang and we couldn’t talk because my brother needed to exchange important information. Then he passed the phone to me, and then I passed the phone to her and then as the time conscious person that she is, almost immediately after she hung up the phone she told me it was time for me to go to my daughters’ house. I laughed about that and thanked her.

I drove to my daughter’s with the non-perishable shopping items in the car, began to babysit and his mother and grandmother showed up and I hung around making myself useful getting supper while she played with her son. I thought, as long as I’m here, I’m going to stick around. When my son-in-law came home, I visited a little and then went on my way.

Once home, I grabbed one of my many books on organizing, this one is entitled, Emile Barnes’15 Minute Home and Family ORGANIZER: Two Bestselling Works Complete in One Volume. Inspirational Press, a division of BBS Publishing Corporation, New York, NY published it in 1998 by arrangement with Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR because they had published separately, The 15 Minute Organizer in 1991, and 15 Minute Family Tradition and Memories in 1995 and they hold the copyright.Emilie Barnes' 15-Minute Home and Family Organizer by Emilie Barnes ...(photo from http://www.goodsearch.com/search-web?utf8=%E2%9C%93&keywords=Emilie+Barnes%27+15+Minute+Home+and+Family+ORGANIZER&button=)

These fifteen minute activities sometimes show up on a page and a half with a Scripture reference that is applicable right under the title of the chapter. Chapter 1 is “Goal Setting Made Easy.” Chapter 2 is “Establishing Daily Priorities.” After a day like today, I need  bite-size encouragement. I’m also going to end my day earlier than normal to the best of my ability. “Please, God, please!”

Has your day ever gone off in directions like water escaping over the top of a plugged sink?

I plan to blog tomorrow and intend to spend more time catching up with others through their blogs. I really enjoy seeing what other folks are up to. 🙂

May God bless you.

Words Easily Spoken

I called my introvert daughter by accident today and she called me back. I got talking to her about writing to build up marriages and mentioned a friend, Elaine Miller who writes for that purpose and she got asked to speak in Russia where the divorce rate at that time was 90%. What a shame.

Then talked about some people I know that are battling sicknesses. She sounded upbeat when I first called and then she got quiet.

I got thinking that what I’ve heard about and prayed about is news to others and they may leave the conversation feeling down when we’re done. Rats! I know that introverts process things deeply.

Wednesday morning at our Ladies’ Bible Study a woman spoke up about hearing some teachers on television admonishing people to be careful of their words. Don’t speak negatively about others and about yourself. Don’t gossip. Don’t put other people down as you’re talking to them.

I agreed with her wholeheartedly, yet I did caution her that if a person is kind of obsessive-compulsive, they may get so wrapped up in being careful that it could play with their brain. “Is this okay, is that okay? Did I speak something that is calling a negative consequence into being?”

My husband had to remind me that I don’t have to carry it to extremes. God has more power than I do and if I say something that He doesn’t want to happen it won’t happen. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Tonight I went to a writers’ group for critiquing and I decided to be careful as I exchanged ideas. I hoped to be helpful and not too critical. I was blessed by the feedback I got back. The hostess thanked me for coming.

After all, King Solomon wrote in Eccl 3:7, (KJV) that there is “A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;”

When my daughter called me later, she sounded like her day went well. Phew. 🙂

May God bless your day!

 

Revenge Handed to God

I went to the library this afternoon and expected to do about five different things there, but only finished a few. When I got reading the Bible to catch up on a “read the Bible in a year” plan I got so intrigued with the content I kept going. When I got home I realized I didn’t read the list right, so I’m still two chapters short. I’ll catch up tomorrow.

I’ve read 1 and 2 Samuel before, but I kept noticing how often David left revenge for God. David’s followers wanted to kill King Saul for him or urged him to kill the king so they could quit hiding from Saul in caves and forests and in the wilderness.

Once David cut off the corner of King Saul’s outer garment and then he showed it as he told King Saul that he could have killed him.

Over and over again David explained, “I will not touch God’s anointed.”

I have a friend who owns a business. When other associates steal her fees that she’s due to collect she doesn’t sue them. I asked her once why she doesn’t try and get her money from them. Many years ago she told me, “God watches over me. I leave it up to Him.”

Not that I’ve ever needed to sue anyone, for which I thank God. But I remember the first time she told me that, I was flabbergasted.

Her business puts her into shark-infested waters, so to speak. She’s experienced others grabbing her commission at least once.

God takes care of her. She’s thinking of writing a book and I’ve encouraged her to do so. I’ve seen tremendous answers to prayer which came about from big trials in her life and in those close to her.

A Christian cliche is, “You can’t have a testimony without the test.”

I’ve heard it said that the Bible continues to be a best-selling book year after year in many parts of the world.

It’s filled with human interest stories, battle plans, history, geography, genealogies, insight into God’s character and His opinion of us, the keys to God’s kingdom, poetry, love, death, common sense, financial advice and more.

It must be because it’s God-inspired as it says in 2 Timothy 3:16, (KJV), “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” that I keep gleaning more and more from it even though I’ve read it almost daily for decades now.

May God bless you!

Curtailed

Occasionally I look at my life from an objective viewpoint, or as much of an objective viewpoint as is humanly possible. Lately I’ve noticed that people I saw regularly have been moved out of my life. I don’t see some due to sickness, some from changed circumstances so their time doesn’t mesh with mine much, and some from their lack of interest. I decided that there are seasons in life when people are nearby and seasons when they’re gone and then it changes, and they’re back again.

It doesn’t feel that way right now. I wonder if the Lord is trying to get through to me and I’m not hearing Him. Recently, when plans are made or opportunities come along, the door gets slammed shut. Not all of them, but some of them. I’ll make plans and move along to fulfill them and then someone calls and cancels. My husband and I accept invitations and then work demands more of him than he expected and he tells me we can’t go. Then one of us picks up the phone and apologizes. Either the Lord is trying to get through to me or He’s helping me to adjust to variations so I can be flexible.

On the other hand, I’ve also noticed how He orchestrates my steps. I’ve been on my way somewhere and think that we’re almost out of bread. I have time to stop at the store. Once there, I’ll run into someone I haven’t seen in a while and they need to know something I can answer, or I need advice or prayer and they’re there for me. I’ve seen it over and over again with different situations.

Today I intended to spend half the day at home doing chores. My husband and one volunteer have been working hard to get handicap bathrooms into our church. We’ve moved more than once in our lives, so I’ve learned how to paint. I intended to offer to help paint tomorrow. Then I realized they were painting today and my husband looked tired.  So, I ended up staying there to paint and another lady joined me. I got hungry before he did and the helper, an expert contractor actually, agreed that he could eat as well. I ordered pizza with my husband’s approval and that blessed the man that has so greatly blessed us. My husband calls this volunteer “The boss” because his level of expertise in building far surpasses ours.

Others have volunteered as well, but not as steadily.

Maybe the reason I feel like a bird whose wings have been clipped every time my expectations get dashed is because God wants me doing things for others that are more important than what I’m aiming for. I enjoyed painting today and getting to know a couple of people better.

I don’t have anything to complain about, I just feel a bit off-kilter. 🙂

I guess that’s a part of life.

How are you doing today?

May God bless you!

 

More Thoughts On the Next Generation

So, I know where my grandson gets his pondering from 24 hours after the fact. It’s partly from me.

I rehashed yesterday’s blog on time spent with the grandchildren. In addition, on Sunday night my daughter worked on some paperwork she needed to finish up, so she asked if one of us would help get the kids ready for bed.

The older they get, the less help they need. I think I helped two of them floss their teeth and the four year old needed a little help reaching the hidden teeth at the far left and the far right when brushing them. I put his toothpaste on the brush so the whole tube didn’t get emptied out. 🙂

Just before tucking them in for the night we turned to the Bible for a short story. The oldest boy asked if they could act out the one I chose. That kept me scrambling through the pages.

I chose Jesus being led by the Spirit out to the wilderness. There’s lots of action in that but not so much as in David and the giant Goliath facing off in battle in 1 Samuel 17. I didn’t want to wake them up.

The oldest and I read Matthew chapter four to them and we’d switch off children to characters so everyone had a turn. It wasn’t bad asking, “Who wants to be Jesus?”

Saying, “Who wants to be the devil?” with enthusiastic responses of “I will!” was a bit disconcerting for this Grandma.

They really got into it, especially the second-born grandson.

Montrose Christian Writers Conference in Montrose, PA does a dramatical event for participants that I entered in a couple of times. Every small group gets their own bit of Scripture to re-enact. I portrayed the person burying their talent into the ground so the Master wouldn’t lose his talent.

When the “Master” called me a wicked servant and asked why I didn’t put the money into the bank at least, to earn interest it really hit home. That Scripture is found in Matthew 25: 1-30. When Jesus quoted at the end, ‘And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,’ I got a chill as my co-writers helped cast me away from the group.

Anyway, the four children and I finished our acting out the Scriptures and then we prayed for a little bit. I love hearing little ones pray.

Sometimes when I babysit at their home after getting them all ready for bed I’m absolutely exhausted and not that interested in the secular story and then the devotional time. I just want them to go to sleep.

I’m glad my daughter did the child care for most of the day. I thoroughly enjoyed the wrap up at the end of their last day at our house.

May God bless your day!

The Next Generation

My grandchildren and I watched Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” one recent morning while their mother caught up on some neglected sleep.

Image from http://movies.disney.com/snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarfs

It took a while to get my computer working. So, here I am, able to blog, finally!

On Good Friday, I offered to do a service at the Nursing Home like it was no big deal. I do the worship without too much trepidation, but when I needed to speak before twelve people stretched out in a line in their seats or wheel chairs, with a worker present, my heart beat sped up and I wondered what was I thinking to volunteer. With the busyness of the holidays and with company from Thursday to Monday, I wrote a blog on Saturday ready to post it and never got it typed, let alone sent out.

So, this is a modified version of that blog.

There’s nothing like sitting with little ones and entering into their world for a little while. Sometimes they want to watch too many shows or play electronic games, so their mom limits the time allowed so they interact with people.

We settled into comfy chairs to watch old fashioned scrolls with introductory words describing the setting and some of the plot as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” began. I read the first page a bit after it appeared to the children. I finished the words as the second page showed up. My older grandson’s eyes widened. “How did you remember the words from the first page and then read the second page like that?”

I know he was giving me a compliment but he’s at the age where it can go either way.  Sometimes I’ll tell him something and he’ll tell me I’m wrong. Then, after he finds out I wasn’t wrong he’s not sure how to act. I’ll say, “I did go to school, you know.”

Then he ponders it all. He’s a deep thinker. His mom tells me he may come back 24 hours later with a new angle and then be ready to argue again at 48 hours.

During the movie we talked about such a variety of topics: skulls, death, Black Magic, Christianity, meanness, kindness, jealousy, love, and imagination making things worse.

It’s amazing how watching a program with young people and being open to their thoughts and questions can get a conversation going. Sometimes I’d ask him what he thought of certain situations.

When the queen, who was sometimes called a witch, used magic to change her appearance so she could poison her step-daughter, I told the children afterwards that evil often backfires and hits the person set on hurting another. It makes the case for that logic in Proverbs and in the Psalms, but I didn’t quote them book and verse.

Today, I spent a good portion of the day setting the house in order. I love my family very much. So, it’s worth it to cook and do dishes and move the toys into the living room so we can gather together. They helped pick up before they left, but by the time the cars left, we’d eaten another meal and they needed to get on their way. I decided to do some extra cleaning beyond the ordinary after the company went home. I guess it felt good to get at things. I’m still organizing.

I finished the kitchen and now I’m on to the next room. It took me longer than I anticipated because of the curtains, which I had to point out to my oldest daughter. It’s funny the things that stand out to me and others don’t even notice.

May God bless you!

Not Happening

cropped-family.jpg

God loves His children!

Hi! I’ve been unable to reach my son at a mutually beneficially  time to get my computer looked  at. So, I thought of blogging at the library on one of their computers, but I ran out of time. While I’m relatively calm, I’ll end this blog since I have a terrible time writing with a cell phone on WordPress. God bless! Hopefully tomorrow will bring technology back into synch here. Going to go read Psalm 91. I can use the encouragement. lol