Tag Archives: faith

We won’t move without You

“God Walks With You”
Isaiah 43:2

It’s been awhile, I apologize.  It’s been one of those times, where a prayer has been answered, just maybe not (or really not) what we expected (wanted).  It’s taking time to adjust, and while I’ve felt close to God, it’s been a lot of “Really, God?”, and just pleading to open my heart to acceptance, surrender, and faith.

We are moving from Atlanta, GA to Cleveland, OH.  I had started a post, and hope to find some time during this hectic time, to list out some of the positives.  It will be good, and my attitude is probably 99% of that.  But it will be hard.  To leave family, friends, our church, our preschool, our neighbors, the amazing network we have worked to build for us and our kids.  And while I have and will cry many tears for that, I feel God keeps placing on my heart that He is what matters, He will provide, and He will not abandon us.

“We won’t move without You”

Lyrics sung tonight by Jay & Abby Akins (two people high on our list of who we will miss) at Evergreen Church, that hit right to my heart.  We may be physically moving, but we won’t be leaving God behind.  He will guide us there, He will be with us every step of the way, and He will never leave.  I need to be comforted in this, I am, but during such an emotional time, it’s hard.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
Isaiah 43:2

More to come, but tonight, I wanted to share with you the aforementioned song (take a listen below) that I’m singing and meditating on this evening.  You will lead us, we will follow, and we will always cry out that You are the LORD OUR GOD!  Amen!

The Lord Our God
Kristian Stanfill/Passion

Promise maker, promise keeper
You finish what you begin
Our provision through the desert
You see it through ’til the end
You see it through ’til the end

[Chorus]
The Lord out God is ever faithful
Never changing through the ages
From this darkness You will lead us
And forever we will say
You’re the Lord our God

In the silence, in the waiting
Still we can know You are good
All Your plans are for Your glory
Yes, we can know You are good
Yes, we can know You are good

[Chorus]

We won’t move without You
We won’t move without You
You’re the light of all and all that we need
(X3)

[Chorus]

And forever we will say
You’re the Lord our God
(X2)

The Lord our God (x2)

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Happy 1-year Blogiversary to me!

Can it really be 1 year since I started this blog?  Wow, does not seem like that long.  I’ve had my ups and downs, figured a few things out, still working on quite a few others, but most days am glad I have stuck with it.  I wish I had some great, ground-breaking news to share, like I figured it all out, but not yet – probably not ever.  But I have come a long way – see my first post here – My dog-eared purpose.

But I’m okay with that, and I think that is what I am taking away from 2013 and this 1st year of blogging.  I may not have discovered my one “purpose”  and I may not ever, but have figured out a few along the way:

  • My purpose is to raise up my 2 precious children to know, love, and tell others about God.  Through both words and how they act and treat others.  And it’s my job to be a model of this.

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  • My purpose is to be a good, Godly wife.  To support and love my husband unconditionally as he works hard for us and has to make tough choices that aren’t always easy.

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  • My purpose is to love and raise my 3 (mostly) sweet dogs.  To show others that pets are part of a family and should also be treated as such.  And with all animals – to speak for those who cannot.  (Hoping to put more emphasis on this for 2014)

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  • My purpose is to be comfortable in the skin (or clothes) I am in.  I may not be trendy (although I may try to be), I may wear clothes from Target, or last season, but if my family is loved, fed, and cared for, I’m good.  I know God does not care what I look like on the outside and although I do “try” to maintain a good outward appearance to feel good myself, it’s definitely not all that matters.
  • My purpose is NOT to have all the answers.  I want my kids to see I’m not always perfect.  I want them to see me accept blame if something is my fault and not be quick to point fingers at others.  I want them to know mistakes happen, and we need to apologize, try to make it right, learn from it, and move on.  (Still working on this!)
  • And in all these things my purpose is to love God unconditionally, thank Him everyday for the good and bad, and let His light shine through me, my family, and this blog.

I did update my tag-line to “taking it one book, song, and day at a time.”  That is all I can do, I can plan all I want, but things are not always going to go as planned, and although this is hard for me and will take a lot of prayer and disappointment, it’s all I can do to survive.  Life, kids, jobs, circumstances are always changing, but if I stay anchored in my faith with God as my guide, He will give me all that I need.

Lastly, I’ve seen on a lot of blogs and Facebook posts lately people choosing a word to represent their year ahead.  I never outright stated it, but I think my 2013 word was PURPOSE, and my word for 2014 is INTENTIONAL.  To be intentional in all my actions, words, blog posts, whatever.

in·tent : the thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose
in·ten·tion·al: done on purpose; deliberate.

So stay tuned for more book reviews, more inspiring songs and verses, more vacations and family fun, more dog posts, and hopefully some surprises!  I have no idea what 2014 has in store, but I can’t wait to find out through being INTENTIONAL and faithful.

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Thanks for stopping by and God Bless your 2014!

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Filed under Calling, Canines, Celebrations, Chapters, Children

Winter Snow (Bonus Christmas Song!)

“But you came like a winter snow, quite, soft, and slow.  Falling from the sky in the night, to the earth below.”

In addition to my Advent Song Series (see last one here), I wanted to through in one bonus song.  Actually I wanted to throw in a bunch, but this is one of my favorite, so I thought I would do a special mid-week post just for it.

I first heard it at church by the beautiful Abby Akins a few years ago.  I woke up singing it the other day and asked Abby at church if it was on the agenda for any of the Advent services, and much to my delight (and spoiler alert!) I was told it may be performed on Christmas Eve at our newly named Evergreen Church!  (Here is our flyer below for anyone local – we would LOVE to have you at our Community Wide Christmas Eve service at 5:30pm at Starrs Mill High School!)

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But back to the song.  It’s just beautiful with a simple, yet powerful message.  Jesus could have come blazing into the world, like a storm or hurricane, you know those grand entrances (think royal baby this past year?).  Couldn’t you just picture it today? It would be the buzz on Facebook, Twitter, on every news outlet, camera crews outside the barn, pining for that first picture.  But Jesus came like the winter snow, paints a beautiful picture in your head.  Quiet.  Soft.  Slow.  In the middle of the night, in a barn, so humble for our King.  The King of Kings.  Our Savior.  Our Lord.

Meditate over this song.  Close your eyes and let the words sink in.  Beautiful.  I hope you enjoy as much as I do if you haven’t heard before (or even if you have.)  Thanks for stopping by, and stay tuned for a post on LOVE coming this 4th Sunday of Advent!  Amen.

Winter Snow (Feat. Audrey Assad)
Chris Tomlin

Could’ve come like a mighty storm
With all the strength of a hurricane
You could’ve come like a forest fire
With the power of Heaven in Your flame

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

You could’ve swept in like a tidal wave
Or an ocean to ravish our hearts
You could have come through like a roaring flood
To wipe away the things we’ve scarred

But You came like a winter snow, yes, You did
You were quiet, You were soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Ooh no, Your voice wasn’t in a bush burning
No, Your voice wasn’t in a rushing wind
It was still, it was small, it was hidden

Oh, You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Falling, oh yeah, to the earth below
You came falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

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Joy for Christmas (Advent Series Part III)

Joy: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.  Who wouldn’t want that?  Joy is another amazing gift and one that I’d have to say makes everything else worth it.  Don’t you live for those moments of pure joy, for me it’s through my children.  And as they get older, the JOY in Christmas is even clearer.  (Stay tuned for my post about meeting Santa!)  And here is my LL when I told her to show me joy this morning:

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Then the angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid, for behold,
I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
Luke 2:10

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
Habakkuk 3:18

Joy is mentioned so much in the Bible, it’s hard to narrow it down, so I picked a common Christmas verse and another great one from Habakkuk.  I try not to do “too much” research when composing my posts, I don’t want to ever be guilty of stealing anyone else’s thoughts and ideas.  I try to pour out my raw emotion as I pray over and think over each topic, song, or verse I choose to include.  But I came across this article that includes tons of scripture and thoughts on JOY.  The author hits the nail on the head when he mentions that true joy cannot be fabricated and can only come when we feel secure, have direction in our life, are honest with God and ourselves, and live each moment in God’s presence.

I know I try to thank God and praise him even more in times of JOY.  Don’t get me wrong, I praise Him through my storms too, but it’s hard when you’re in them.  But the joy that will come will be amazing.  Time and time again, God comes through.  And it’s in those moments of JOY that I feel free, I know my God came through and I feel His presence and loving arms around me and I want to shout it to the world.  My goal will be to keep that joy in my heart always.  If not the JOY, but maybe the HOPE for it, or the PEACE that may precede or follow it.  Three beautiful gifts (and spoiler alert – the best one comes next week!)

It was hard for me to pick a song this week as so many songs exemplify JOY to me.  I did go with the most obvious, Joy to the World.  I’m sure it’s becoming overplayed, but not to me.  Chris Tomlin has a way with songs, that I can just never tire of.  He took this song, in a similar way that he took Amazing Grace (My Chains Have Gone), and added the catchy “Joy – Unspeakable Joy”, that has me singing as loud as I can when I hear it!  (A close second and one for you to check out as well is “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” by Barenaked Ladies – LOVE this version!)

Enjoy this song.  Sing it out, LOUD, to our GOD, who wants us to experience JOY, during the Advent season and throughout the year.  It will have to be earned, much like peace, but it will be so good.  Amen!

Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy)
Chris Tomlin

And like last week – here are a few glimpses of JOY in my world:

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See first posts in this series here:  (and stay tuned for LOVE next week!)
Part I – HOPE
Part II – PEACE

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Flying High (with a little help!)

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Happy Sunday!  I’ve strayed away from my typical Sunday song posts for the last month, but decided I could use the encouragement myself, so here’s a quick one with a great message as you start a new week!

I know I’ve been exhausted from all the Halloween Festivities.  Good problems to have, but I could use some extra strength as we “officially” begin this holiday season.  I guess I could have waited until Advent, the true period of waiting, but I don’t know about you, but I feel the pressure is on these days to be super organized and start thinking about Christmas NOW (or 4 weeks ago!)

The words from Isaiah 40 have always been some of my favorite.  Verse 28 (I cut off in my picture about) starts with “Do you not know?  Have you not heard?”  Really grabs your attention.  As we may tire or become weary – our God will not.  And if we ask Him and believe in Him, He will give us strength, and help us soar on wings like eagles – great imagery don’t you think?  I could only imagine that soaring high above the earth, like this eagle here, would be both empowering and peaceful.  And isn’t that what God does for us?  And wants us to be through Him?  I’d like to believe so.

So as you enter into this next week, or season (in weather, on your calendar, and/or in life), know that you are not alone.  God does not tire, He is always listening and will give us the strength we need to move forward, or even just wait, as many of us are called to do at different points in our lives.

Take a listen to “Everlasting God” by Lincoln Brewster below.  Love this song and the message.  “Our God WILL reign forever” and will “lift us up on wings like eagles.”

Amen.  Have a blessed week!

Everlasting God
Lincoln Brewster

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
Wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord
Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
Wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our strong deliverer

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won’t grow weary

You’re the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
Wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord
Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
Wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our strong deliverer

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won’t grow weary

You’re the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
The everlasting God
The everlasting

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
The everlasting God
The everlasting

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
The everlasting God
The everlasting

The Lord is the everlasting God
The Creator of all the Earth
He never grows weak or weary
No one can imagine the depths of His understanding

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless
[Incomprehensible] become weak and tired
And young men will fall in exhaustion
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength

They’ll soar high on wings like eagles
They’ll run and not grow weary
They’ll walk and not faint

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Whom Shall I Fear? (Happy Hump Day)

Happy Wednesday aka Hump Day!  Anyone else notice the increase in camel pictures on Wednesdays?  Maybe it’s just my FB friends, but I swear the last few weeks I see at least 2-3 camel pictures on Wednesday – new trend?

That all being said, I’ve strayed away from my typical Sunday posts the last few weeks.  And thought I would try to post when I felt most inspired, or when I need it the most, and today that just happens to be on a Wednesday!  I will try to post weekly though as it helps me and hopefully some of you!

I have been encouraged by many songs this last week, particularly some of THESE AWESOME ONES, but I’ll save a post on one of those for another week.  This past week at church we sang this one – Whom Shall I Fear – and I also hear it daily (maybe hourly) on the radio.  It seems those are the songs I’m drawn most to posting about, but when I think that through, it makes sense because it gives the song time to sink in and after a few (hundred) times hearing it, it’s made an impact.

This week at a couples bible study we were discussing two types of Facebook posters.  One was deemed the overly, happy almost fake sounding, that only posts about good things.  The other is the opposite, using it as a platform to complain to ask for sympathy.  No one wants to raise their hand for either, but if I had to label myself it would be the positive one.  I hope not fake, but my Facebook friends (be them real or virtual) don’t need to see that side on my life, so I’m guilty of only posting happy things.  Not that I want to be a negative poster, but I save my issues for my friends and family off-line.  Neither of these is right or wrong or healthy or not (I’ll leave that for you to decide).  I do believe by airing grievances, you may find sympathy and/or support, and definitely get some extra prayers.   But is there a point where it is TMI or you’re just boasting (if it’s on the positive side)? Which one are you?  (And I’m sure there is an argument in here that’s anti-social media, a highly debated topic in many of my groups – but we’ll save that for another day!)

That being said (yes I know I already started a paragraph with those words – it’s my transition today!), things aren’t always happy and shiny in my life.  These last few posts (Here and Here) focused on great things that we did.  I need to do that sometimes (often) to refocus and spend time praising God for the good things in my life, which there are WAY more than not.  But other days, and more this past week, I’ve been consumed with panic and fear.  Of unknowns and of trusting God.  And this song – Whom Shall I Fear – always brings it back into focus for me.  Who should I fear when I have God – the God of Angel Armies albeit, by MY side?  I love the imagery of that.

Here is what Chris Tomlin says about the song:

The Scripture really came to life for me after we wrote the song. I may have read that Bible passage from 2nd Kings before, but my eyes weren’t really open to the story. When Elisha is told about the army camped outside the city, and sees the fear in his servant’s eyes, he tells him, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then he prays for the Lord to open the eyes of his servant. Then he saw the angel armies all around their enemies.

Remember that if God is for us, who can be against us? We raise our hands to celebrate and in surrender. We can lift up our hands in confidence to God and know that His mercy is unfailing. His love is never-ending. He is our refuge and our strength. God’s ultimate will is not to bring affliction upon people, but to restore us so that we may experience His unfailing love.

May you always remember that you believe in God – the God of the Angel Armies, and that He’s got your back.  Always.  Amen and Happy Hump Day!

Whom Shall I Fear
Chris Tomlin
You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the light
 
Whom shall I fear
 
You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my Sword and Shield
Though trouble lingers still
 
Whom shall I fear
 
I know Who goes before me
I know Who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always on my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a Friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
 
My strength is in Your name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory
 
Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
 
And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I’m holding onto Your promises
You are faithful
You are faithful
You are faithful
 
I know Who goes before me
I know Who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always on my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a Friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
 
The God of angel armies is always by my side

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A Thankful Heart (and a fun morning!)

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Happy October!  Fall is my favorite time of year.  And although I am still wearing shorts, tanks, and flip-flops, for that brief period in the AM where it may not have hit 70 yet, I love nestling in my pants and maybe even a sweatshirt!  And I have to get outside.  With lots of commitments throughout the week, I have intentionally left Thursdays open to spend time with with both kids, and today my heart was extra full, that I was inspired to share.

In the mom-to-mom bible study I have been doing on Wednesdays, yesterday’s topic was 3 gifts for every mom.  It came from Linda Anderson, an experienced mom and founder of Mom-to-Mom Ministries.  They are 3 gifts/things that she claims “have made all the difference in helping me become a healthy – and joyful – mother.”

A Teachable Spirit
A Thankful Heart
An Eternal Perspective

All good things to keep in mind each and every day, hour, even minute, while parenting.  We all have our good days and bad days, but these are good things to always keep in mind.  We closed yesterday with mentioning which one we wanted to work on.  And it was unanimous, we all want a more thankful heart.  Don’t get me wrong, I am always thankful for the (abundant) blessings I have been given by God, but some days more than others.  So this week (and forever!) I am trying to make a more conscious effort to reflect on my many blessings and be thankful for them.  Not saying I still won’t have bad days, but maybe with a better spirit and attitude I can learn to work through them better.

This morning, with nothing I was committed to, the kids and I packed a picnic and headed over to Newnan to the Carl Miller Park owned and maintained by Newnan Utilities.  We have been there a few times before (check out our Summer post here to see more on the splash pad!)  But it’s really a hidden gem.  Never too busy.  Wooded walking trails, lots of swings, shade, and best part for kids – 2 playgrounds!

First stop the Kids’ Castle Playground:

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A “32,000 square foot playground features wooden climbing areas, swings, assorted bridges, tunnels, forts, playhouses, cars, boats, trucks and airplanes for kids to play in, on and around”  A little aged, but only parents would notice that.  The kids had a blast!

And if that is not enough – they have a newer playground with both a preschool and elementary section:

So we played, swung:

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Made shadow creatures – here is LL as a moose and Princess Leia (just for Daddy):

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Took a little stroll:

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Then settled in for a picnic:

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Overall a beautiful, great, fall morning.  Spent with my two favorite little people.  My heart is truly thankful and so full!

May you find moments to fill your heart and be thankful each and every day too!

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Book Review: Oh to Grace by Abby Rosser


Oh to Grace
By Abby Rosser
This book was provided to me free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Finish time: 5 nights.  This was one of those books that I wish I had read in hard copy.  You know the ones I’m talking about, where each chapter begins with a date and they aren’t necessarily in chronological order.  So on the Kindle, it’s hard to backtrack.  For that reason, and not really paying attention to the dates until later in the book, I found the book hard to follow at first.  It jumps around a bit between time periods and characters, that I’m not sure I ever really felt I had it all figured out.

The book begins and goes back each chapter to a granddaughter interviewing her great-aunt (I believe) Frankie about her family’s history.  Her family’s story included lots of interesting characters, lots of little adventures, and painted a great picture of life during the early 1900’s.  But I felt it was lacking a larger story to tie it all together.  I guess looking back the book starts out with a boy running into a store and proclaiming to the owner that his son is dead, but it takes a long time to come back to that point, that I had completely forgotten about it by the time it circled back around.  And throughout the story there is mention of a pocket-watch, but it seemed inconsequential and I couldn’t keep track of whose it was and who had it now, so I did appreciate its timeline at the end of the story.

The writing was good, I enjoyed the story of Anna and Ernest and his family, and I especially loved the ending.  Again, looking back, there is mention of hymns and church, but just not much.  But at the end (without spoiling anything) the discussions about faith and God were so good, I wished there was more through the book, or even more build up to that point in everyone’s lives (especially Anna).

So really an enjoyable read, and everything was eventually tied together, it was just a little frustrating as I don’t think I ever had all the characters straight, and was confused a lot of the book.  But the ending really redeemed it all for me and left feeling satisfied and happy.

I don’t normally tie in songs or verses to my book reviews, but the verse below from Romans and past post HERE were in my head since finishing this book and I couldn’t help but share as it’s one of my favorites!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

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Book Update: Elizabeth Street and The Dr. Pepper Prophecies

I have been reading.  Just nothing to shout about.  I know I promised good back and ugly, so I’ll do a quick recap now.

Dr. Pepper Prophecies by Jennifer Gilby Roberts.  I read this is 2 days.  It was merely a “filler” between 2 heavier books.  It was a fluffy, chick-lit novel.  Quick, easy, somewhat entertaining, still don’t understand the name.  Free (ofcourse!), but nothing to shout about.  I”ll leave it at this.

Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano.  Back to my favorite genre of historical fiction, this was actually based on the true story of the authors family.  They immigrated from Italy in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s.  Tons of detail and a very long book.  I really did enjoy it, I just felt there was almost too much detail, so after 2+ weeks of reading a book, I was ready for it to be over.  Thoroughly researched and no detail missed, you got a great feel about the Italian-American culture in that time period, and were thankful to not be a part of it.  It was very interesting what gangs/mafia/whatever were able to get away with and what the early American police force could not control.  A love story was woven in, and towards the middle it was quite the mystery.  The pages turned quickly as I couldn’t wait to find out what happened.  A terrifying part of American history, yet told in a very profound way.  If you have some time, you won’t be disappointed.

Now I’m juggling a book for a small group I am in:

A light, chick-lit read:

And I’m very excited to find a new website (Net Galley) and be accepted to to get even more free books to review – most of them new releases or maybe not even released yet!  Here is my first one (review coming soon!)

And I still have this one from BookSneeze that I keep forgetting about:


My plate is full (of books) – but that is a good thing!  Stay tuned for hopefully some great book reviews!

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