God cares about the details…

September 26, 2009 AT 5:44 pm 32 Comments

It is amazing to look back over this very difficult week and see the goodness of God.

One thing that God has taught me is that he cares about every detail of our lives.

God knew my mom would be in the hospital last Sunday night, and he hand-picked a nurse to care for her.

He didn’t pick just any nurse. He picked a nurse that is passionately in love with Him. He picked a nurse that would passionately love my mom.

Our lives were changed by this sweet nurse.

She came to mom’s visitation Thursday night.

Our lives will forever be intertwined.

I just discovered she had a blog and I read this post about my mom. Please go check it out. I hope it blesses you as much as it did me….

It’s Not About the Medicine

I have so much to share about this past week.

I have so many to thank.

I’ll be back soon…




Her battle is over.

September 22, 2009 AT 9:07 am 137 Comments

Mom’s battle with cancer ended at 2 a.m., September 22, 2009.

She did not lose her battle with cancer.  She won!  She now stands whole and victoriously at the feet of her Savior.

We sang hymns in her ears and read scripture to her.  We kissed her beautiful face a thousand times.

The room was filled with her family.  And filled with God’s love.

A few weeks ago, I stood in the kitchen with Mom and I told her how strong she was being through all of this.  I told  her how amazed I was to see her faith so strong and her mouth so full of thanksgiving.

She said, “Traci, I have tried my whole life to be an example to you kids of how to live for Christ.  Now I have to be an example of how to die for Christ.”

Oh mama, you were!  You continually blessed others when they were trying to bless you.  You changed our hearts.  You showed us how a heart in love with Jesus is greater than any trial we face on this earth.

I hear God now saying, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”

And mom, you are healed.  You’ve wanted to be able to walk on your feet for weeks.  Dance, mama, dance!  Dance with Jesus.

 

I held her sweet hand as she drew her last breath.  I’ve never known an honor so great.

She was so beautiful.

I love you, Mom.

 

For all of you wonderful people who have prayed for my mom and my family during these difficult days, I share with you my mom’s very favorite verse that she has clung to all the more before she passed away…

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.    John 14:27

(Before Mom got sick, she tried to start a blog.  She was able to write a few posts.  I wanted to share it with you. http://wandawalkingwiththelord.blogspot.com/)

For you, Mom…




There is none better.

September 21, 2009 AT 12:19 pm 41 Comments

It’s Monday morning, and I am sitting with my mom in the hospital.

My sister and dad brought her to the hospital in the middle of the night because she was experiencing extreme pain in her abdomen.

They have given her morphine for the pain, and we are waiting for results from an x-ray.

She is very much out of it, but will sometimes speak out of her head. The words she has said the most are, “I love you, Lord.” and “You all are wonderful.”

It reminds me of the scripture,

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

Luke 6:45

My mom’s heart is overflowing with love for her Lord!

Here is a picture of my family that we took on Dad’s birthday, September 4th.

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That’s my brother, Blake, in the middle.

He is Mom’s pride and joy.

He recently wrote down some words that had been laid on his heart. I think he did a great job describing our mom.

He said I could share them with you…

There is None Better!

I hear people brag about their moms, but if they ever met mine they would know. There is none better.

You think you know a Christian that talks the talk and walks the walk? Well let me introduce you to my mom. There is none better.

I always thought the best way to describe a Christian is “Servant.” You should meet my mom. There is none better.

Do you know someone who is unselfish? Puts everyone above themselves? Would give you anything they had? I call her Wanda Faye, she’s my mom, and trust me, There is none better.

I’ve known her 37 years. I’ve seen her faithfulness. I’ve gotten up at 5 in the morning and found her reading her bible. I’ve watched her prepare to teach bible studies. This isn’t just a bias. I’m telling you. There is none better.

She’s fighting cancer now. She even does that selflessly and gracefully. I can’t tell you how many cards she has received. What does my mom do? She uses all the energy she has to try and write everyone back. Do I really need to do any more convincing? There is none better.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to meet my mom you know what I mean. If she’s touched your hand, smiled that sweet smile, told you she loved you, told you she was praying for you, well consider yourself blessed…she meant every word. There is none better.

If the Lord does decide to take her home before we are ready. I can’t say I blame him. He knows what I do. There is none better.

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Please pray that Mom would be healed. Pray that the doctors would have wisdom and discernment in caring for my mom.

Pray for my dad, his heart is breaking.

God bless each and everyone person reading these words right now…




Ballard Designs Inspired Mirror

September 18, 2009 AT 10:02 pm 38 Comments

When I moved my furniture around in my den this summer, I had a huge wall space above the couch that I needed to fill.

I didn’t have  money to buy something, but if I did, I would have bought these mirrors from Ballard Designs….

But these are two for $199.00 !  That would be $398.00 plus $38.90 in shipping costs!  For a grand total of $436.90…Not gonna happen!

Lowe’s has mirrors in their store almost exactly like the Ballards ones for a cheaper price.

They are only $79.00 a piece and they are beautiful.  Plus, you don’t have to pay for shipping!  That will save you about $117.00.  If you like that look, you may be interested in these.  However, at $320.00, these were not an option for me either.

I needed a mirror for like…hmmm…..nothin’!

So I decided to use an old frameless mirror that used to be in our bathroom before we remodeled it.  (Very GREEN of me, don-cha-think?)

My handy husband framed it out with 1 x 4’s.

I stained the wood with Minwax, Dark Walnut.IMG_2899

Painted it white.

Then glazed it with Valspar Mocha glaze.

(I’m sorry, but I dropped the ball when it came to taking pictures of each step.  I was in  a hurry.)

Here is the mirror at this stage…

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I bought some decorative pieces from Lowe’s for less than $4.00 to add to the frame.

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I did the same paint treatment on these pieces and added them to the frame with wood glue.

Then I sanded all the edges to let the dark stain show through.

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Here it is above my couch.  I am hoping to get a new couch someday too.  :)

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And here it is since I’ve added a few (and I mean a few!) fall touches.

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I got the sconces from Southern Living at Home.

So the only thing I bought to make this large mirror was the little decorative pieces for the corners.  The rest of the mirror was made from supplies we had at home.

Even though it doesn’t look like the ones from Ballard Designs, it fills up the big space above my couch, and it saved me about $430.00!  Guess I can’t complain!

Blessings,

 

 

Update on Mom:

She is feeling  better this week.  She is scheduled to start back on her chemo next Tuesday, but it will not be as strong of a “dose” since the last treatment caused her to spend four days in the hospital.  Her potassium has been dangerously low this week which puts her at risk for cardiac arrest.  So the past three days she has had to go to the doctor to get her potassium through an IV.  It’s about a six hour process, and it is very exhausting.

If you would like to know how to pray for her specifically, please pray that the swelling in her legs and feet would go down.  It would help her be more independent and get around much easier.

Her spirit is strong.  She’s making the best of all the trials she is going through.  She keeps saying that she is just so thankful for each day she has with us.  We are too!

We are all living “one day at a time.”  Which is actually a great place to be.

Thank you for all of your continual prayers.  We have felt them.

Thank you for praying for Eli too.  His feet are doing amazingly well.  We went to the doctor today to get them checked and make sure they are healing well.  The doctors said they are looking great!  I am so thankful.  He’s one tough cookie!




New Dishes for my Hutch

September 17, 2009 AT 8:57 pm 37 Comments

I just had to share with you some wonderful new dishes I got for my hutch…for FREE!

My Aunt Lois, (my dad’s sister), started reading my blog about a month ago, and noticed my love for white dishes. 

She just happened to have been storing some white dishes in her garage for quite a while that she had been trying to give away.  (They used to belong to her daughter.)

But lucky for me, there were no takers.  She asked me if I would want them, of course I said “yes.”

One thing you need to know about me is I never say “no” to anything that someone offers me.  Especially if it’s free!

I figure that if it doesn’t work for me, I can just pass it along to someone else.

Now my Aunt Lois could have brought me a big box of the ugliest white dishes you have ever seen.  (Though I highly doubted it because she has exquisite taste, and her house is decorated beautifully.)  Or it could have been a box of white dishes that just weren’t my decorating “style”.

You can imagine my surprise when I opened the box and saw these beauties…

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The back of the plates read:

Fine English Tableware                                                                                      by Johnson Brothers                                                                                         Made in Staffordshire, England

I love the scalloped edges.

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It was a complete set including some cute little bowls.

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And look at the adorable sugar and creamer set…

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They look absolutely wonderful in my hutch.

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Aunt Lois is also the blessed mother of  four,  like me.  (Although she got a daughter in the bunch…3 boys, 1 girl!)

Her youngest son, Darrin, is the head basketball coach at the University of South Carolina. 

Any Gamecock fans out there?

I shared with many of you that we had a family reunion at my house in August, and we were so excited that Darrin and his family could be there.  It had been a long time since we had all been together.

We celebrated by wearing our South Carolina gear.

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Here is my oldest son, Jonathan, with Darrin.  Jonathan LOVES basketball…just like his daddy!

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This is Darrin with my dad and his sisters.  Aunt Lois in on the right of Darrin.

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I didn’t know what all the fuss was about.  Everyone seemed to only want pictures with Darrin!  

But I knew better….I KNEW that my Aunt’s wanted a picture with me too…so I obligued…

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Okay….I admit it …I wanted a picture with Darrin too!  I’m proud of my cuz!

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Now all the “cousins” have children too.  Boy, do we have a lot!

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I love the “crazy” pose!

IMG_3041 And my sweetie gave all the great grand children a ride in the wagon.

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They loved it!

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To thank me for hosting the family reunion, Aunt Lois gave me this great personalized basket.

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How cute is that?!  I absolutely love it and have already used it many times.

Thank you so much for everything, Aunt Lois! (And Uncle Ed, too!)

You blessed my socks off!




Emergency Room Visit!

September 14, 2009 AT 5:23 pm 38 Comments

No, not with my mom.

My son, Eli.

Yesterday while I was at Mom’s and the boys were at home with Dad (a fact I just had to add…) he stepped in some hot embers from a bonfire we had on Saturday.

He has second degree burns on the bottoms of both of his feet!

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We were at two different ERs for over 6 hours.

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He was quite the trooper. Once the Lortab kicked in, he started feeling much better. We even got some smiles.

These pictures were taken close to midnight.

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He can’t walk on his feet for the next five days.

Today he has felt really good, and you wouldn’t even know that he has burns on his feet except that he’s not running around the house!

Please pray for a quick recovery.

Blessings,

(And yes, he should have had shoes on.)




Kitchen Curtains

September 14, 2009 AT 12:40 am 45 Comments

I spent several months this summer trying to find some curtains for my kitchen windows.

I knew that I wanted floor length panels, but I wasn’t sure what type of material I wanted. I thought about black and white buffalo check, but was afraid that would be too bold.

I wanted something more subtle.

I had in the back of my mind some curtains I had seen in blog land. They were made of drop cloths, and I thought they were beautiful.

The first ones I saw were at Layla’s blog, The Lettered Cottage. You can read about her curtains HERE.

She got her inspiration from a picture she saw in Pottery Barn…

Then I saw them appear again on Judy’s blog, Gracious Southern Living. You can see how she made her beautiful curtains HERE.

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Don’t you love the black detail on the bottom?

So I decided to give them a try and see if I liked them.

I made many trips to Lowe’s and Home Depot to find just the right drop cloths (yes, I have analyzed drop cloths!), and you can read about my discoveries HERE.

One of the many things I learned was that not all drop cloths were alike.

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See the difference between the top drop cloth and the bottom drop cloth in the above picture? I got these at the same store!

Many of my followers asked me which drop cloth package to get? Honestly ladies, I found that drop cloths wrapped in the exact same packaging were sometimes still made of different materials.

So I spent about 20 minutes in the store comparing the drop cloths, holding them up to the light, opening the packages, etc. The Home Depot guy must have thought I was CRAZY!

I could hear him thinking, “Come on, lady, pick one already! It’s just a drop cloth!”

I liked the drop cloth in the bottom half of the picture best. It had a lot more texture and beautiful brown flecks in it.

But YOU can choose whatever type you like best! (The variations are very subtle.)

Here are the things I love most about drop cloths…

1) They are 6 feet by 9 feet,which means they are super long and perfect for curtains to go from the ceiling to the floor.

2) All four sides are hemmed. Saving you some time when making your curtains.

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3) They are a super heavy canvas material which requires no lining. Saving you another step!

4) And most importantly…They are Cheap! About ten dollars a piece. That’s a little over 3 dollars a yard!

Now, I chose the simplest way possible to make my curtains.

I have made window treatments before that were a lot more time consuming. These are the curtains and roman shades I made for my previous home. (It was Christmas time…)

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But for my drop cloth curtains, all I had to do was hem the top and bottom of each panel, and I was finished.

I simply ironed the top of the panel down 2 inches, and sewed a straight stitch all the way across.

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I did the same thing for the bottom of the drop cloth because I wanted mine to puddle in the floor.

If you didn’t want yours to puddle, you could do a bigger hem.

To find the correct length, create your two inch hem on top first, hang the curtain up with the rod and clips that you want to use, then let the drop cloth drape on the floor. Next, pin the bottom up to the length you want it. Take the curtains down and iron the hem the length you chose, then stitch. No cutting required.

If you do not own a sewing machine. simply hem your drop cloth using an iron and some hem tape. You can get hem tape for a few bucks at Walmart or just about anywhere.

I bought my clips and curtain rod at Hobby Lobby.

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Though I love the “look” of the clips I chose, they are not as strong as the ones I got for my den curtains. The drop cloth is very heavy and has slipped out of the clips.

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Then I took some black ribbon from Walmart and a couple of tassels from Hobby Lobby to create my tie backs.

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To attach the tie back to the wall, I got real fancy and used a curtain clip. Could this be called a Window “Mistreatment”?

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I love the finished look!

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I had a very difficult time getting a good picture of my curtains. During the day, the sun is so bright that I get a huge glare in the picture. And of course at night, the picture quality is not as good.

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Here are my curtains through my buffet mirror…

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I also made drop cloth curtains for my den…

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And a drop cloth slip cover that I will be sharing in a future post…

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Blessings to everyone,

Traci




How beautiful are the feet…

September 11, 2009 AT 9:00 pm 40 Comments

Several days after Mom’s first round of chemo, my sister and I were at Mom’s house helping care for her. 

We were cleaning the house real good, and trying to get Mom’s fall decorations out around the house.  She loves celebrating the seasons and her house is always decorated so wonderfully.

Mom was feeling really bad.  The chemo was showing its colors.

One of the side effects of her cancer had been swollen feet and ankles.  It had started several weeks before.

That day, her feet were extremely swollen, cracked and dry.  She asked me to take the polish off her toenails.  A simple task she was no longer able to do.

I jumped at the chance to do that for Mom.  I got all the supplies I needed and went to work.

After I removed the polish, I got some lotion and covered her feet with it.  I rub her feet gently because they were tender and sore. 

She said, “This is humbling….to have someone clean and care for your feet.  I’m sorry you have to do this, Traci.”

“Mom, don’t worry about it.  I consider it an honor.”  I said.

And I did.

As I rubbed the lotion on her cracked and swollen feet, my heart swelled with love for my mom.

I thought about all the acts of love those feet had performed over the years.

Those were the same feet that pushed a rocking chair back and forth every night as she rocked me to sleep as a baby.

Those were the same feet that ran to my side as a child whenever I was scared, hurt, or just needed a hug.

Those were the same feet that pushed the pedal of her sewing machine as she made my sister and I matching outfits when we were young.

Those were the same feet that also pushed the gas pedal in the car as she drove me to countless cheerleading practices, softball games, and school events.

Those were the same feet that excitedly jumped up and down with me in the kitchen when I found out I got my first teaching job.

Those were the same feet that have walked into hundreds of  homes to deliver a meal or offer a prayer for someone in need.

Those were the same feet that proudly walked down the aisle  at my wedding.

Those were the same feet that stood in the choir loft at church as she sang praises to her Lord with all of her heart.

Those were the same feet that have done silly dances in the living room to make the grandchildren laugh.

Those were the same feet that have stood firmly on the solid rock of Jesus Christ and His word.

And now, those were the same feet that lie swollen at the foot of a bed.  And oh how I know that she would love to stand strong on those feet once more…

to dance with her husband

to play with her grandchildren

to cook a meal in her kitchen

to go to church

to walk a thousand more days with her family

Lord,

Thank you for my precious mother and her beautiful feet.  Thank you for the path that she has walked in service and devotion to You.  Thank you for the example she has given us all to follow.     Bless her and strengthen her with your might.                                                          Amen.

"How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10: 15 KJV)




Drop Cloth Connoisseur?

September 9, 2009 AT 9:51 pm 70 Comments

(Yes, I had to google “connoisseur” to find out the correct spelling!)

Could I be a drop cloth connoisseur?

The definition is…

A connoisseur (Fr. connaisseur, from Middle-French connoistre, then connaître meaning “to be acquainted with” or “to know somebody/something.”

Well, when I was making curtains for my house this summer, I have to admit that I became REAL ACQUAINTED with drop cloths.

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And after I slip covered my chair with a drop cloth, I decided that I definitely KNOW more about drop cloths than a person should.

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So I want to share some of my knowledge with you.  (Cause I know you are dying to be a drop cloth connoisseur too!)

First of all,  Home Depot has the best drop cloths.

Ouch!  That hurt’s, cause I’m a Lowe’s girl at heart.  But it is true.

All of the 6×9 foot drop cloths at Lowe’s had a big seam running down the middle.  Sometimes horizontally, and sometimes vertically.

How do I know?

Because I bought and returned over 10 different drop cloths trying to find ones without seams!

Let’s just say Lowe’s loves me.

The drop cloths at Home Depot are SEAMLESS!  (I hope they are where you live too!)

Secondly, not all of the drop cloths are made of the same material, even at Home Depot.

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How do I know that?

Because I bought six from Home Depot, brought them home, then noticed they were made of two different types of material.  One I liked, and one I didn’t.

(You can see the different types of material in the picture below.  I liked the material on the bottom half of the picture better.)

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So I returned them to Home Depot and got 6 drop cloths that were made of the same material.

Yes, Home Depot loves me too.

Thirdly, be sure to wash them before you use them to get out the “drop cloth smell.”

When you wash them, they instantly turn super soft, like a totally different material.

It’s also important to wash them to shrink the material a little, especially if you are using it to slip cover a chair.

After making my curtains, I ironed the material before hanging them up.

 

See…I told you I knew more than I should!

In the coming days, I will be posting about how I made my drop cloth curtains and slipcover.

Stay tuned, all you drop cloth lovers….

Traci




I’m at the hospital with Mom

September 9, 2009 AT 12:51 am 42 Comments

Today (Tuesday) I woke up with an uneasy feeling in my stomach. I had spent some time with Mom last night, and though she was doing better than last week, I was still troubled with her condition. Her talking and breathing was very labored, and I worried about the cancer in her lungs.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I teach music at a Mom’s Day Out program that my two youngest sons attend with me. (A fact that I don’t think I have ever shared with you!) :) I have worked there for four years, and I love it. It is located at a wonderful church, and it is a precious place to work. I am so thankful that God has placed me in a job where I am surrounded by wonderful, godly women who continually lift my mom and I up in prayer.

I was having a hard time staying focused at work because I was worried about Mom. My sister, Cyndi, was taking her to a scheduled doctor’s appointment.

When they did her blood work, they discovered her blood was really low. Her heart rate and her oxygen were also dangerously low, so they immediately admitted her to the hospital.

Cyndi called me to let me know, and I wasn’t surprised. I just knew…

There was a flurry of doctors around her for several hours as they did TONS of blood work, xrays of her chest, ultrasounds of her legs (which are very swollen) , and more.

They discovered that she has fluid in her chest cavity. We were worried about her heart, but the cardiologist said that there was no fluid on her heart and it looked good.

They are doing a blood transfusion at about 12:30 a.m.

She should be here a couple of days. They are hoping to build her body back up so it will be strong enough for more chemo.

I wanted to share a couple of pictures of my mom with you. I love these pictures because of her beautiful smile.

This is a picture of Mom with my niece at a Fall festival. We go to festivals together every year and love to eat a big bag of kettle corn!

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And this is a picture of Mom and Dad at my nephew’s graduation. They were so proud of their oldest grandson!

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Isn’t she beautiful?

Please pray specifically for her coughing to stop, the fluid in her body to go down, and that her time in the hospital will give her the strength she needs to endure her chemo.

For those of you who don’t know, her name is Wanda. She never liked her name when she was growing up, but began to love it when she found out it means, “Walking with the Lord.”

God bless you all,

Traci

22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;

Lamentations 3:22-25







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