How to Lay a Gravel Walkway


I am in LOVE with older homes…like 100 year old homes. Unfortunately, our brick ranch was built in the 1970’s, so it didn’t come with the “older home” character that I was dreaming of. Over the past four years, we have been renovating our home and trying to add some farmhouse character to the interior and exterior.

We recently built a new porch on the front of our ranch home. When trying to decide what type of walkway we wanted leading up to our front porch, I was drawn to the look and feel of a gravel walkway. They are definitely characteristic of old farmhouses, and they take me back to my childhood. :

Here are the reasons we love gravel walkways:

  1. They are easy to install.
  2. They are inexpensive.
  3. They are a fluid walkway material that won’t crack or break in colder temperatures.
  4. They can take on any shape you desire.
  5. And they are beautiful and charming!!

See why we chose gravel?!   It was the perfect solution for us!

how to lay a gravel walkway

We followed 5 easy steps to

complete our walkway in one day.


STEP ONE: Dig the shape of the walkway.

how to lay a gravel walkway

First off, you need to mark out the desired shape of your walkway before digging. We used line-marking paint to mark our walkway. It’s basically like spray paint, usually orange, that you hold upside down as you spray and mark your line.
You could also mark your pathway with a rope or even a water hose. Make your walkway as wide as you want it. We made ours a little wider since we were lining it with pavers.
Use a square-edged spade to dig your walkway a depth of four inches. You will want to check the depth of your trench with a tape measure as you go. Be sure to smooth walkway with a steel rake and then compact the soil with a dirt tamper.



STEP TWO: Add crushed stone to your walkway trench.

Once the dirt in the trench is raked smooth and compacted, line the trench with about 2 ½ inches of crushed stone.  We used Class 1 Sand from Lowe’s.  
Crushed stone is a mix of ¾-inch stones and stone dust and will give your walkway a compact base.

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STEP THREE: Lay Landscape Fabric
Next, roll out a layer of landscape fabric over your walkway.
You will be able to cut the fabric to match the shape of your walkway. To hold the fabric in place, you can use landscape anchor pins or spikes.














STEP FOUR: Install edging.

For our edging, we used pavers. We installed the pavers along the edges and used a rubber hammer to compact them.

The pavers we used are called “Allegheny” from Lowe’s.

sidewalk beauty



If you do not want to use pavers, you can install edging. I suggest a galvanized steel edging, but you can use what will fit in your budget. If your edging does not come with spikes like the edging below, you can use a soft hammer or a wood block/hammer to install the edging.



STEP FIVE: Fill walkway with gravel.
This is the fun part! There are many different types and colors of gravel that you can use for your walkway. Pick one that matches the style of your home (or your personality if you choose.) :)
You want to lay enough gravel to come about ½ inch shy of the top of the edging.
Be sure to rake the gravel out evenly so all of the landscape fabric is completely to lay a gravel walkway

If desired, you can landscape around the path with flowerbeds, sod, or lighting.  I’m loving these lights from Lowe’s!


Your new walkway will require very little maintenance. You may need to rake it smooth occasionally and add more gravel if needed over time.
how to lay a gravel walkway

(Confession:  We have NOT covered our crushed run with gravel yet.  We did our steps a little differently.  We put our crushed run over our landscaping fabric because we knew we wouldn’t be able to add the gravel just yet.  I am hoping to add the gravel in November.)

I am super happy with my new gravel walkway!  I know it will look even better once we lay the top gravel and add some new landscaping in our mulch!

how to lay a gravel walkway


*This post was sponsored by Lowe’s!  All design ideas and product opinions are 100% mine.  #lowesgirlforlife

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Gravel Walkway Inspiration {For our Front Porch}


Happy Monday, friends!

Hope you had a great weekend!  If you are on the east coast, I know you have been battered with a ton a rain.  I am praying for your safety.  

It has been dry and sunny over here on the west coast, and I have to admit that I am missing the cooler temps and the feeling of “fall.”  My time here is half way over, and guess what?!!! I get to see Cy and my boys this week!!!!  They are flying over here on Wednesday night!!!  YAY!  Please pray for their travel safety.  

I cannot wait to hug their necks!!!  

And I have got some more good news!!!!  Things are moving quickly on our adoption.  Yesterday, our sweet girl’s foster family got a visit from a lady from the government and found out that we are officially wanting to adopt her!  We didn’t expect this to happen so soon, so we are hoping this means that we may be flying over there to get her in November!!  Again, there are no guarantees because sometimes things get tied up in the court system, but so far, we are excited about how quickly things are going. :)

Here is a fun collage of her visit with us this summer.  I did it in pencil sketch since I can’t show her true picture yet online. :)

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 10.11.57 AM




Now to today’s post!  

I have a deep love for older homes.  Especially farmhouse style homes.   Something about them just warms my soul.  :)  So when adding on our new front porch, I wanted to give it an “old” farmhouse feel.  I started looking on pinterest, and I started noticing that many of the pictures I was drawn to had one thing in common….



Many of them had gravel walkways leading up to the front porch…




There is something so simplistic and rustic about a gravel walkway.  It seems that you usually find them in gardens, and they seem to always lead to somewhere magical.





 I have always loved the crunchy sound that gravel  makes beneath my feet.  

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 10.40.27 AM


The more I looked at these pictures online, the more I knew I wanted a gravel walkway leading to our front porch.  I showed Cy some of my inspiration pictures, and he loved the idea too.



There are many different types of gravel walkways that you can create, and I think they even look beautiful on newer homes too…



My favorite look is light gray gravel lined with pavers, so this was the route we decided to go.  Something similar to this pic….




Before I left town a couple of weeks ago, we finished our front walkway (sort of.)  We have filled our walkway with a layer of very fine crushed run to give our gravel a good sturdy base.  When I get back, we will be getting a little larger gravel to layer on top of our crushed run.

Tomorrow, I will share with you what it looks like so far!  I am very happy with how it has turned out.

So!  What do you think about gravel walkways for a front porch?  Yay?  Nay?


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Our Painted Front Porch


Well, if you know me, you know I love painted wood!  We painted the floors in our girl’s room.


We painted the wood walls in our guest bathroom.  


And we painted the wood floor in our new mudroom.


So when we installed our new wood front porch floor, I thought about staining it for a brief second, but I kind of knew already that my heart was set on painting it. :)

Our first coat was actually the same color as the mudroom (which I love,) but I knew that I wanted it to be a little darker gray.  When the sun hit the porch, the gray almost looked blue.  

front porch2

So I decided to go with a color that was a couple shades lighter than the color we painted our shutters (Ebony Fields.)  See below…


Since I am far from home right now, I didn’t have the color swatch with me, but I found a picture on Jenna Sue’s blog!  Yay!

Valspar Porch and Floor paint


It is called Mark Twain House Ombra Gray, and I absolutely LOVE it!  We used Valspar Porch and Floor Paint in gloss.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 3.57.31 PM

We trimmed everything out with just a high gloss exterior white paint.


I still have to get a pretty “welcome” rug for the front door, but I already love how it looks with our pumpkin and mum!  :)

front porch makeover

Have a blessed day, friends!!


*This front porch project was sponsored by my favorite home improvement store, Lowe’s!  All ideas and opinions are 100% mine.  #lowesgirlforlife

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West Coast Update!


Hey friends!

I’m sending you a big hug and kisses from the sunny west coast!  


It’s been a crazy week.  

The day after I left (Tuesday,) Cy woke up with a swollen, sore, and inflamed elbow.   Wednesday it got worse, and that night, he had the chills and a fever.  I tried to tell him to go to the doctor, but he wanted to wait another day to see what happened.  

Adam called me Thursday night (from the bathroom) crying because he was worried about Cy.  Adam deals with anxiety issues anyway, so having his dad sick and unable to get out of bed and his mom across the country, was not a good combo.  He was very upset and couldn’t go to sleep.  We prayed together, and I reassured him that everything would be okay.  

The next day, Cy was even worse and his elbow was even more red and more swollen.  He went to the doctor on Friday morning, and they drain the fluid from his elbow and tested his blood.  Most likely, it is a bacterial infection in his blood, which  can be very dangerous, but we do not know for sure yet.   I was VERY concerned, especially because the doctor was very concerned.  He gave Cy is personal cell phone and asked him to call him any hour of the day or night to let him know if he was getting any worse.  If it did spread or his fever continued, he would need to be admitted to the hospital!

Luckily the pain medicine and antibiotics he was prescribed on Friday seem to be helping some. 

Cy’s dad drove 8 hours up from Georgia to be with Cy and the boys.  His mom had to stay in Georgia to care for her own mother who has been in poor health lately.  My sister brought them dinner Friday night, and our sweet friends, Kim and Joe provided food Saturday night.  Cy has been in a lot of pain and very fatigued. 

He goes back to the doctor tomorrow to get the results from the blood tests.  

I would appreciate your prayers for him and my boys.  It is not easy to be so far away from him during this time.  I have another three weeks in California before I get to go home. :(

It’s in times like these that I treasure the peace that only God can give.  





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3 Things My Mom Taught Me


Six years ago today, I lost my mom to cancer.  

We found out that she had stage four gastric cancer on August 6, 2009.  They gave my mom 6-12 months to live.  Seven weeks later, she passed away on September 22nd.  

It is still hard to believe.  

Many of you have been reading my blog since my mom’s passing.  Some of you have not.  I wrote about my mom on my blog every Wednesday for a year after she passed.  You can find all of those posts HERE.

My boys were 10, 8, 6, and 2 when she passed, and I wanted them to be able to read about their amazing “nana” on my blog.  I needed to document how amazing she was, and how blessed they were to have her in their lives, even if it wasn’t as long as we all had hoped.  I thought my weekly posts about mom were for my boys, but God used them to heal my own heart and fill it with gratitude for  the Godly mother He had given me. 

This is a picture of my boys the day of my mom’s funeral.  Jonathan sang Amazing Grace (Chris Tomlin version) at her funeral because she had asked him to.  How that sweet little boy held it together to sing at her funeral, I will never know.  But he did.  And there is no doubt in my mind that my mom was in heaven soaking up every note in her heart with her hands raised high above her head full of praises to the God she loved so much on earth and is now standing face to face with for all eternity.


My mom taught me so much, but here are three things that stick out to me. 

1.  Jesus is everything.

Mom made no bones about the fact that she was hopelessly and helplessly in love with Jesus Christ.  She lived her faith out every single day, and her main goal in life was to share Him with others.  Was she perfect?  Heavens no!  She would be the first to tell you that. :)  But she did her absolute best to live like Christ every single day.  She taught me to spend time in prayer, cherish and study God’s word, and fellowship with other believers as much as possible.  

2.  Serve others.

My mom  had the most amazing servant’s heart.  She knew that serving others was what God had called her to do, and it is what makes us most like Christ, the ultimate servant. Year after year of my childhood is filled with memories of mom serving others through homemade meals, visits to hospitals, writing letters of encouragement, and volunteering at church.  It brought her so much joy, and she realized it mattered. 

3.  Dream Big and Take Chances.

My mom was always cheering me on to try new things and have a “carpe diem” attitude.  She always believed in me and would encourage me dream big.  She never wanted me to have regrets for not doing something that I really wanted to do.  I watched her live out that attitude in her own life.  She was always trying different things and stretching herself to try new things.  She had a custom window treatment business, a cake decorating business, an ebay business (selling hand sewn American Girl Doll clothes,) a job as the food editor for our local newspaper and for a national magazine (Home Life,) a church puppet team director, a student at a three month professional writer’s school, and on and on and on.  Mom would get a “hankering” to try something new, and she would do it!  CARPE DIEM! We laugh about it sometimes now because she tried some pretty hilarious things, like even being a ventriloquist {not kidding,} but I am so thankful that my mom had that type of attitude.  She’s the one who encouraged me to start my own blog, and I am forever grateful for that!


My mom has been gone for six years, but her influence in my life is ever present.  I find great comfort in that.  I find comfort in knowing that the love I give my boys each day, the things I do for them, the lessons I teach them, they example I set for them is NOT wasted.  

A mother’s influence on her child is strong and powerful and ever lasting.  I pray that that encourages you as well.  Being a mom is tough, but it is worth it ladies!   Stay strong.  Teach your children what matters most in life.  Never give up and find rest in knowing that your work is never done in vain.  It matters, and it will last forever in  your children, your grand children, and for generations to come.  

Thank you, sweet Jesus, for our mothers!



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Front Porch Lights {Third Times a Charm!}


Hey sweet friends!  I’ve missed you!!  

I sure hope you have missed me.  I have been MIA  for the past week because I have been getting ready for a big trip with one of my kiddos!  Today, we jumped on a plane to the west coast for the next FOUR WEEKS! 

Yep.  Not kidding.  {Wish I could tell you more, but I can’t.}  :(

Hopefully, I will be able to soon!  {wink}

But for now, I am on the airplane and halfway to our destination.  I wanted to take a minute to show you the lights we got for our front porch.  You may think you have already seen them, because you sort of have, but not really.  

Here’s the deal…

When I went to the west coast in August, my sweet, precious husband installed some porch lights.  Any normal wife would have been grateful and excited.  I mean….I was.   kind of.   I love my man, but really?  I’m a home blogger!  We’ve had this discussion a million times over the past six years.  He knows that he does most of the hard work, and I get to decorate!  It’s just the way we work.   I always “encourage” him not to pick out anything that is decor related because there is a one hundred percent pretty good chance I will not like it.

A few years ago, he installed a light over our kitchen sink while I was away at a blog conference!  We had had no light over that sink for a YEAR because I couldn’t decide what kind I wanted.  Sweet man of man, what was he thinking?!  We laugh about it now, and you would think he would learn his lesson, but alas…

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 1.56.55 PM

He picked up these lights at Lowe’s, and installed them while I was gone.  Now granted, they are beautiful lights, and I actually loved them, but they were not what I was wanting for our front porch.  They were a little too traditional and I wanted something more simple without any curlycues.  

I showed the lights on instagram and periscope, and many of you loved them.  But my fellow blog friend, Layla, agreed that her hubby, Kevin, would be in BIG trouble if he installed lights without checking with her first.  #crazybloggers

So we left those up for several weeks until I found some that I really liked, and he installed porch lights for a second time. 

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 1.56.00 PM


These lights had the simple look that I was after.  Cy was so sweet to take the other ones down and install these.  

But there was one problem….they were too high.  I didn’t say anything at the time, because you know…I wanted to stay married.

So I let them sit for a few days before I gently mentioned it to Cy.  I hated to say anything because I knew that he would have to remove some siding, cut different holes, and add longer wire, but I knew that it would drive me crazy every time I drove up the driveway.  We have wanted this porch for four years, and we needed to do it right.  Luckily, Cy agreed that the lights were too high, he just wasn’t looking forward to moving them for a third time. 

Since I needed to take pictures before I left for my trip, he spent about an hour moving the lights down, and we both are glad he did.  It looks much better now!  {At least to us!}



So what do you think?  Do you like these lights better, or the other ones?  You can be honest, ladies.  :)

Again, the other lights were beautiful, and would look great on another house, but they were not what I was wanting for ours.  

We are 95% done with our front porch, and I can’t wait to share the transformation with you over the next week or so!

Well, it’s almost time to land, so I gotta go!

Have a blessed week, friends!!!


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Decorating with Natural Accents


Y’all, the weather has been getting super chilly in these parts, and I LOVE IT!!  Oh my goodness, the morning requires a light jacket, and the afternoons are filled with sunshine and a cool breeze.  We’ve been riding around town every day with our windows down breathing in all the goodness.  Last night, Adam, Eli, and I went to our local park, and the boys played on the playground while I took a walk around the park.  #heavenly

On the way home, we rolled the windows down again and breathed in the smell of burning wood.  Someone was roasting something over the fire, and it was A-ma-ZING!  This time of year just makes my soul sing. 

I have so many fond memories of this time of year…hayrides, campfires, nature walks, football games….so many wonderful things to do outside.  And I think that is why I like to bring the outdoors inside this time of year.  I just can’t get enough of it!


Decorating my home with natural accents is one of my favorite things to do!  That’s why I am excited to share a book that my sweet blog friend, Stacy (from Not Just a Housewife) wrote about the subject. 

I have know Stacy for over five years now, and she is one of the sweetest souls I have met in blogland.  She is the mom of four boys like me, and she loves the Lord dearly.  She has been blessed with the talent of creatively adding natural accents to her home, and she shares her passion with everyone in her new book.


Stacy’s book is full of so many great, inspiring projects with easy do-it-yourself instructions.  It got me all excited about sprucing up our home with natural accents! 

Here are a few of my favorite inspiration pics from Pinterest that incorporate natural accents in their decor…





Check out how cute this little vignette with a wood slice, jars, and rocks.  The cool thing about decorating with natural accents is that you can get the kids involved!  My boys love to collect rocks and things from outdoors, and it makes them feel great when I add them to our home’s decor.  :)





Ahhh…..bittersweet!  One of my favorite things to decorate with in the fall.  Just through them in a bowl with some acorns, and voila!  You have a beautiful centerpiece!






My buddy, Michael, from Inspired by Charm, made these adorable acorns for his fall decor.  I LOVE THEM!!

Natural-Accents-738x1024If you want your jaw to drop and see how natural elements can be used to perfection in your decor, check out Michael’s Fall Home Tour!  #yourewelcome

Now, even though it is fun to decorate with natural accents during the fall season, it can certainly be done year round, and Stacy’s book gives you tips on how to do exactly that!


You can enjoy this book for yourself or give it as a gift!

And if you want more inspiration from Stacy and her blog, click HERE.


Have a blessed day!!

This post contains affiliate links.

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How to “Fake” a Wood Floor with Plywood {Our girl’s room}


how to fake a wood floor by using ply


This past spring, we were busy trying to turn our boys messy playroom into our precious host daughter’s bedroom.  We had to removed the pee-stained carpet {from our dogs, not our boys, ha!} from the playroom and come up with another type of flooring that wouldn’t beckon our dogs to continue to pee in there.  ugh. 

Here it is before we started clearing it out…


Since we didn’t have the money to install hard wood floors to match the rest of the house, we decided to lay some inexpensive plywood and paint it.  I love the look of painted wood flooring, so I was totally down for the idea.

Cy bought some 1/2 inch birch plywood from Lowe’s and had the guys in the lumber department cut the plywood into 6 inch strips.  Since plywood comes in standard 4 x 8 feet sheets, we were able to get eight 6 inch by 8 foot strips of plywood to use as our “planks.”  {The eighth strip was about 5 1/2 inches wide because you loose some width due to the size of the blade when cutting.}

Some of the cut edges may be a little rough and need a little sanding.  

We had a bunch of pictures of installing the wood planks on my husband’s phone, but it broke into a million pieces, and we do not have those pictures any more.  :(      #bloggerfail

I did take a couple of pictures on my phone of the boys helping us.  We let Jonathan and Luke install them floor to earn a little spending money.  After they pulled up the carpet, they removed any leftover staples from the plywood and cleaned the subfloor real good with Cy’s shop vac.  

Then Jonathan used the chop saw to cut the plywood strips the length they needed them, and Luke nailed the boards directly to the subfloor with a nail gun.  They completed the floor in one evening.  

diy wood floor

After all the plywood was laid, I swept it real good before I painted it with a (smooth/semi-smooth) nap roll brush.  

Painted wood floor

We used a roll brush with a thick nap and this oil based Valspar porch & floor paint from Lowe’s…

Valspar Porch and Floor paint

The color we chose is called Grand Hotel Mackinac Blue, and I absolutely LOVE it!  It was the perfect color for our sweet girl’s room!  This paint comes in satin or gloss.  We got the satin at first, but I didn’t like it.  The gloss was perfect!

Valspar Porch and Floor Paint

We painted the floors one good coat and then let it sit for 24 hours.  I suggest letting it sit as long as you can before applying the second coat.  Before we applied the second coat, we lightly sanded the painted floor in any spots that looked like there were tiny bubbles (which was hardly nowhere) with a fine grit sanding sponge and then vacuumed the floor.  

We let the second coat dry for over 24 hours as well.  It is a super durable paint.

inexpensive painted wood floor

I adore this floor!  There is something so quaint and cozy about a painted wood floor!  And it was super easy to install and very inexpensive. {less than $225}  SCORE!

Inexpensive DIY wood floor

So what do you think?

Do you like painted wood floors?




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Mark Your Calendars!!!



It’s time to MARK YOUR CALENDERS for Haven 2016!!

The Haven Team has already been meeting and planning the best Haven EVER!!


We are so excited about all of the new changes we have in store for YOU!


We believe our Design & DIY Blogging Community is a special one, and we work hard every year to provide a conference that is just as special. 

It is our goal as a team to create a conference that matches the definition of it’s name…

Haven is a safe place to learn more about blogging and a comfortable place to spend time with others who share the same passions you do.It’s a three day break from your regular routine to meet some of your favorite bloggers, learn from some of the best minds in blogland, mingle with some of your favorite brands, be inspired, laugh til you cry, dance til you drop, and just have FUN!  

Haven is refreshing!

We are so grateful for your support and encouragement over the past four years, and we look forward to a

GREAT 5th Year of Haven!


Traci from Beneath My Heart Rhoda from Southern HospitalityKristin from Stockdale Design

 Chris from Just a Girl

You may notice that our Haven team is a little smaller this year.  Sarah and Beth have made the decision to take a year off to focus on other responsibilities they have in regards to their families.   The rest of us understand and support their decision, but they will be missed. :)





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An Adoption Update: A Child of God


Friends, my heart is so tender toward our girl today.   



We miss her so much.

To give you a quick update, we are in the waiting process.  Our dossier is in her home country being translated.  We get fingerprinted next week to get our i-800 approved, and then it will be sent to her country.  And then we wait.  IF things go well, we will be flying over to get her in November.  (Lord willing.)

Thankfully, we have been able to Skype with her every week since she has been gone.  We get to see her precious smiles and hear her sweet giggles and tell her how much we love her.   It’s been a lifesaver for our hearts.

She started boarding school this week, and spends the weekends with her foster family.  We feel so blessed that she is with a very loving faster family. They are an older couple, probably in their 50’s, that we will get to meet when we fly over there.  I can’t wait to give them a HUGE hug for taking care of our girl until the Lord brought us together.  I praise God for them every single day!

And though our little girl has a foster family, she is still an orphan.  I try to put myself in her shoes, but it is impossible.  I have no idea what it feels like to be motherless or fatherless.  I have no idea what it is like to not be part of a forever family.  I imagine that she wants to “belong.”  I imagine that she wants to be free from fear of her future. 

I heard a song a few days ago that I cannot stop listening to.  It gives me chill bumps and makes my eyes fill up with tears every time I listen to it.  The Lord brings our girl to mind every time I hear it.

The song is about how we become a part of God’s family when we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior.  How we no longer have to fear because we are a child of God.  

I am a child of god gold

source:  ETSY

I think of our girl when it says “from my mother’s womb, you have chosen me.”  Even though she was not born of my womb, she was chosen before time to be my daughter.  The Lord “has called her name” and she has been “born again into our family.”  

“He split the sea so she could walk right through it,” makes me think of how he split the waters of the Atlantic ocean between us to bring us together.  NEVER in a million years would I have imagined that God would have brought a daughter into my life this way, but HE is in the business of doing things that only HE can do.  :)  

My prayer is that our daughter can always say, “You rescued me, so I stand and sing, I AM A CHILD OF GOD!”

Friends, as much as I think about our soon-to-be daughter when I hear this song, I know that it applies even more to me. 

I have been blessed to have an amazing earthly father, but it is only my Heavenly Father who can drive away all my fears and free me from any bondage in my life.  It is HIS blood that runs through my veins, and no one can ever take that away from me!

Can you relate?

What fears have a hold on you?

Fear of failure?

Fear of being alone?

Fear of death?

Fear of past sins?

Fear of an uncertain future?

Sweet friends, when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are no longer a slave to those fears!!  You can lay them at the feet of Jesus, and he will rescue you.  Praise God!!  

Please take a few minutes to watch this video and celebrate the work that God is doing in our little girl’s life, our family’s life, and in your life.  To God be the Glory!

(I added the words to this song below the video in case you need them.)



You unravel me, with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone


I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God


From my Mothers womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again, into your family
Your blood flows through my veins



I am surrounded by the arms of a Father

I am surrounded by songs of Deliverance.

We’ve been liberated from our bondage.

We’re the sons and the daughters.  Let us sing our FREEDOM!


You split the sea, so I could walk right through it
All my fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me, so I could stand and sing
I am a child of God



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