Be Interruptible

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. – (Proverbs 19:21, NIV)

People might make many plans, but what the Lord says is what will happen. – (Proverbs 19:21, ERV)

We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails. – (Proverbs 19:21, MSG)

 

Yesterday was a fantastic day, as my husband drove over the mountains to spend time with mom and me. We enjoyed our afternoon and evening together, balancing time between just he and I as mom took an afternoon siesta, and a wonderful adventure of preparing and partaking in dinner with one another, as a trio. Interestingly, we had a plan in place, as a dear friend, (who was like a second mom to me growing up) was going to come spend time with mom, so that Mark and I could go into town for a quick visit with our best friends, who are here for a ball tournament. Well, the timing did not align, and our plans did not go according to what we had imagined, but we ended up having a fantastic evening of playing a family favorite game with mom, my second mom, Mark and myself. So often, what we think we ought to be doing turns out to not be the actual plan. What unfolds, ends up being a perfect sort of wonderful, and exactly the sort of evening that each of us needed. God knew, even if we did not. Though we are not meant to sit idly by and wait for life to unfold; we ought not get flustered or forlorn when plans do not go as we thought they ought to have gone. Rather, we should be open to the idea that when things do not go the way we thought they should, perhaps God had a better plan all along. No matter how the road before us unfolds, God is with us, God is for us, and God is good.

 

Many are the plans, Be Interruptible

Deep down in our heart;

Yet it’s God’s purpose,

That will find a start.

Sometimes the best plans,

Go a different way;

And we discover,

His path is made plain.

All praise to the Lord,

On whom we rely;

For His ways are best,

And His strength supplied.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways, and Your plans, greater than our own. Forgive us for our initial frustration or disappointment when our plans seem to fail. Teach us to trust You more, as Your plans provide us with all that we need and more. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may encourage, strengthen and build each other up in Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep pressing forward in faith, but allow our plans to be interruptible and embrace the way that You direct our steps. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

To Build Up and Encourage

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

 

Though I know not their heart after God, it is as if each one of my mom’s in-home care team has chosen to live this verse out as their life’s ambition. It takes a special sort of person to do in-home care, as I imagine one is never sure what they will encounter when they approach a home for the very first time. Each and every one of the care providers who has entered mom’s home has been an incredible source of encouragement for mom. Their positivity about mom’s progress thus far, and their excitement and motivation to walk this road of healing beside her, is faith-building as she continues to do the difficult work each day. Yesterday, as I asked mom if there was anything she would like to do or anyone she wished to see, she actually took me up on the offer for the first time and named the names of three of her dearest friends. I immediately sent out messages to them, and they responded promptly with enthusiasm. My heart lightened too, as I sat with the four of them and enjoyed the familiar banter among dear sister-friends. The sharing of life together was a needed boost for all of them, and each seemed to walk away encouraged and built up. After the ladies had been visiting for a while, mom’s in-home nurses arrived to do their check-in. They encouraged the girls to keep visiting while they checked in with me about particulars, and made sure to let all of them know how wonderful such visits were for mom and her rehabilitation and recovery. Pathways and progress multiply in the familiar, and in the last 24-48 hours, I have noticed a significant increase in the strength of her voice.

Beyond just yesterday, there has been an outpouring of encouragement and support for not only mom, but for my sister and me as we walk this road to recovery together. Mom’s living room and kitchen are lined with cards that have been sent over the last month by family and friends, far and near. Dear ones have been taking my boys to school in the mornings, and I know the same has been true for my sister when she is here as well. Our communities have rallied around us and covered us in prayer. We have been built up and encouraged, and are encouraged to do likewise. May we ever reach out and support one another; for we were indeed created to be in a community.

 

Build up each other,

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A sweet photo of mom and some of her besties from last year. ❤

Encourage, reach out;

Help one another,

It’s what love’s about.

For God created,

People to all need;

Sense of belonging,

A community.

Family and friends,

The gifts whom God gives;

To walk alongside,

To thrive as we live.

Let’s choose encourage,

Love well and build up;

Bless one another,

Fill up empty cups.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage and build each other up. Thank You that You place people in our lives that do so when we need it the most. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to offer a word of encouragement or to come alongside another who needed a boost. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading and encourage and build others up in the same way that You encourage and build us up. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and builds up where they are depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the encouragement that we have received and seek Your heart to extend the same to others around us. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry. – Psalm 10:17

Wise with Words

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let your conversations be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not to put them down, nor cut them out. – (Colossians 4:6, MSG)

 

First, in a season of so many unknowns, it is difficult to speak with any sort of wisdom about what lies ahead. That being said, kindness and grace must be intentional and come from Christ, or answers will not be the right response in the moment. Before I expand further on what I am learning about this through this whole ordeal, I know the update that so many are looking for ought to come first.

Yesterday, was another good day for mom. Her day was full of various therapy sessions, each one with intention and purpose to propel her to strength and independence. She was at the table in the dining area picking at breakfast when we arrived and handed her the “smuggled in” Frappuccino. From there we met with the social worker and case coordinator (whom I affectionately refer to as Thor and Llama, based on the collections in their office), as they reviewed mom’s rights and care information with mom, my sister and me. Next up was the OT extraordinaire, Stephanie (I think, so many names), who took her in to help her begin to relearn the whole showering process. Cleanliness is next to godliness, and she felt refreshed to have soaked in that warm water, rather than hospital shower wipes. Her least favorite rebuilding session so far was speech therapy. It had little to do with the who, and everything to do with the what. Due to where the stroke occurred in mom’s brain, she is experiencing some apraxia. For those non-medical folks like myself, the dictionary defines apraxia as a disorder of the nervous system, characterized by an inability to perform purposeful movements, but not accompanied by a loss of sensory functions or paralysis. To make it even simpler, based on observations, there has been a disruption in the connection between message sending and receiving for some words to actions, words to objects, and most certainly, thoughts to movements on the right side of her body. Speech is the space where she is made glaringly aware of the disconnect. It is difficult and frustrating, and an area where extra grace will be needed, for sure. Already the speech therapist will adjust the schedule to meet with her in two 30-minute sessions, rather than one longer sitting. As soon as we returned downstairs from speech, Sophie, the recreational therapist came in. Who even knew that was a thing?! Anyway, super sweet, and her job is to help mom get back to doing the recreational things she enjoys, so I made sure she was aware that the bar was extraordinarily high. Sophie was quite pleased. Next up was OT again to work on vision and upper body, then lunch, followed by PT. It was not Penny yesterday, but Kristen was equally lovely and encouraging, and PT is by far, mom’s favorite therapy session of the day. In fact, she was trying to negotiate trading speech time for more PT time. 🙂 We were able to go outside again after dinner, and enjoyed a movie together before I headed back home for the night. A few phone calls were made on speaker, which was huge for mom, as it was a start to regaining a connection to those not standing in front of us.

Anyway, back to the verse of the day. This whole situation is showing me more and more how critically important it is to seek the Lord and His grace to speak to others. We have now had two people in the last week, tell us (in front of my mom!) stories of their own family members who had strokes and died a few months later. Seriously? Not the encouragement, wisdom, nor words seasoned in the love of Christ that this girl’s heart needed to hear, nor the protector in me wanted ANYWHERE near my mom. I was gracious, but it took much self-control to not scream that I am not their therapist, I am fighting for MY MOM, and no nay-sayers allowed. I am well aware of the risks and reality of our circumstances. What we need is love and support, encouragement and most of all, covering in prayer. It is a strange place when I don’t know someone who cares deeply for mom, is super emotional, and I am an empath who refuses to emote. Too much weight. Additionally, mom doesn’t need to see others feeling sorry for her. She needs cheerleaders, encouragers, shoulders who are ready to rise up and walk beside her. It is biblical. It is right. There is an army that has risen, and for you, we are forever grateful. For those waiting in the wings, feeling uncertain of what to do; keep praying – Your prayers are fueling this fight!

 

O Lord let my words, img_2019-05-08_06-29-487932028719116438520.jpg

Be faithful and true;

Seasoned with kindness,

Reflections of You.

By Your loving grace,

May all that I say;

Encourage, build up,

Each day, Lord, I pray.

God grant me wisdom,

In each circumstance;

May Your truth be known,

Your kingdom advanced.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the watcher of our words. Thank You that what is intended to harm, You use for good. Thank You that You guard our hearts, even though we may have moments of frustration of anger at what we hear, we can trust that You are greater and have us in Your hands. Forgive us for those moments when anger arises and our thoughts are less than godly toward others for the things that they say. Forgive us too, for the times that we have done the same. Not one of us is perfect and we all have fallen short and said the wrong thing at the wrong time, even with the best of intentions. Teach us how to lean on You to love and extend grace with wisdom through our words. Show us how to love like You to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak with wisdom and grace, ever extending kindness and grace to all those around us. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2

Make It So

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – (Matthew 19:26, NIV)

Jesus looked at them and said, “This is something that people cannot do. But God can do anything.” – (Matthew 19:26, ERV) 

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, no one. But with God, everything is possible.” – (Matthew 19:26, TLB)

 

Typically, I am a faith-filled realist, that sees the hope. I look at what is, but trust in what shall be. This week, my world has been shaken like never before. Yes, I know that God is good and that He has us, but if I can be real and raw with you – this sucks! My mom is the matriarch of our family, a rock, a love, willing to go anywhere, do anything, and friend and confidant to all whom she meets. To know her is to love her. For my sister and I, we have had to battle frustration and anger, as people love her and want to waltz into the hospital to see her, as if they have known her forever. Sadly, if we don’t know them and mom is uncertain of who they are based on their name, it adds too much frustration for her, and our protective instincts want to build a fortress around her to keep everyone she has not called by name, out, until she is ready to receive guests. I know it is not her nature to have a closed door. One of her greatest gifts is hospitality. That being said, it is hard to be hospitable in the hospital… For now, we are limiting visits to immediate family and those whom we consider “framily” (such long-standing friends that they have become family). Please, those who love mom, be patient, we so appreciate your love and support, and covet your prayers the most right now.

On to the update many have been waiting to hear. First, we are witnessing miracles; daily. Yesterday, mom moved her right arm! Granted, it was slight and not likely a conscious decision, but her arm moved on more than one occasion, which means that the connections are firing. This is very, very good! Additionally, her speech and word recall are continuing to improve. There is marked improvement from morning to afternoon, and one day to the next. The more relaxed she is, the easier words come. The second miracle is that she has been accepted into the best acute care facility in Washington State. We are not yet certain of the when (though we anticipate the end of the week or the weekend), but we are so grateful to know the where. It is in close proximity to me, so I will be spending much time with mom in the coming months on her road to recovery. Once released, the plan is to have her transition to my sister’s house, as it is already able to accommodate potential needs on a single level.

God is good and He makes what is impossible for us, possible. Please continue to contend with us for our mom, as God is far greater than a stroke.

 

Impossible blows,

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A celebration in the park after Mom’s first tennis tournament win with her parents ❤

The dashing of dreams;

How do we press on,

What does it all mean?

Questions aren’t too big,

Our God doesn’t mind;

His grace is greater,

For love’s what we find.

Plenty provided,

All that we shall need;

His arms surrounding,

As we let Him lead.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You are enough;

For in our own strength,

We are not that tough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness and provision in this dark and scary space. Thank You for surrounding us with loving and knowledgeable people who help point us in the direction You are leading, and for opening the doors You intend. Prepare the way, even now, for where mom is going next. Prepare the hearts of every staff member, doctor, nurse, specialist, volunteer, friend and family member who comes near, so that we will best know how to encourage and build her up. May her positivity, and ours, be a witness to those who do not know You yet, pointing them to a lasting relationship with You. Keep discouragement and depression far from her. Bring full healing and restoration, we pray. Forgive us for our impatience. Please God, give us our strong, vibrant, active mom back to us, fully restored as she so desperately wants to be. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Summon Your power, God; show us Your strength, our God, as You have done before. – Psalm 68:28

 

 

Prioritize Peace

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

So then, make it your top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another. – (Romans 14:19, TPT)

 

In as much as we can, we ought to be in pursuit of peace with those around us. We are called to strengthen and encourage one another, prioritizing a life of harmony with those whom have been placed in our lives to love. This is not a “peace at any price” sort of scenario, but rather harmony through mutual encouragement and strengthening. Choosing to love in ways that make those around us stronger, rather than participating in that which can lead to dissension, is the sort of peaceful pursuit for which we are aiming. May we make every effort to do the things that lead to peace and mutual edification through His strength within us.

 

Wherever we can, Embracing Grace

May we pursue peace;

Seek strengthen, build up,

Grace provides release.

Release from burdens,

Of judgment and scorn;

Instead, choose to love,

As Christ, the Adored.

Encourage others,

Do not choose tear down;

May peace direct us,

Let His love be found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that through Your loving example, we are called to pursue peace. Thank You that You modeled how to strengthen and build up those around You. Forgive us for the times that we have brought others down. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may rely on You to lead us and show us how to build others up in love all around us in a way that brings peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to honor You through a life of pursued peace. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14

Love is Truth in Action

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT) 

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV) 

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE) 

 

Love is so much more than words. Though words can build up and encourage, the tangible evidence of love in action tends to last far longer than something that is simply spoken. Despite the tremendous value I hold in both spoken and written words, I find myself overwhelmingly assured of the truth of love spoken when everyday actions align. It is in the small and simple faithful gestures done in love, that truth is demonstrated over time. We can say whatever we wish, but if our actions do not align, the words are meaningless. However, when we choose love, again and again, through the things that we say and do, the recipients of our words and deeds cannot help but begin to believe the truth that they are loved. May we reach out and love others with the things that we do, just as God so graciously and generously loves each of us, so that all may know that love is not just an idea, but rather a reality intended for us all. 

 

May the Lord’s great love,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Lead all that we do; 

So that our actions, 

Display loving truth. 

Though our words matter, 

Our deeds speak much more; 

For our follow through, 

Shows love’s open door. 

Let us choose to act, 

In word and in deed; 

Do all things with love, 

So God’s love’s received. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to a life of love – not just with our words, but with everything that we do. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to live a life of love through Your Son. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to do anything that was less than loving. Teach us to trust You more, so that our words and deeds would be an extension of Your heart and hands to those around us. Show us how to love those around us with our very lives, making Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your love and grace to love others with our every word and deed. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12

A Fitting Reply

Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time! – (Proverbs 15:23, NLT)

People are happy when they give a good answer. And there is nothing better than the right word at the right time. – (Proverbs 15:23, ERV)

Everyone enjoys giving great advice. But how delightful it is to say the right thing at the right time! – (Proverbs 15:23, TPT)

 

Our capacity to give good advice is directly connected to both our wisdom and life experience. If we look for the lesson in the difficulties we walk through, we gain insight and understanding that might be helpful to another. Additionally, if we seek wisdom from the word of God and His heart to understand, our heart becomes better equipped to reach out and speak life to another. The incredible peace found in this is that God will use a willing heart to give the right words at the right time. In as much as the words are intended to bless, encourage or build up another, when they are well-timed for the recipient, the speaker is blessed and encouraged as well. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom as we walk through our days, and glean from the insight that trials display, so that we may give fitting replies to those needing to hear from Him.

 

A fitting reply,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Brings joy to the heart;

Provision of peace,

Through us, God imparts.

Such delight is found,

At just the right time;

When the Lord is sought,

His wisdom we find.

And all the more joy,

To know that our words;

A fitting response,

That’s meant to be heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You utilize every experience that we walk through to grow us in Your wisdom and grace. Thank You that as we seek You to deepen our understanding, You are faithful to impart Your wisdom upon us. Forgive us for not seeking You or for neglecting to depend on You in how we respond to those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that our words and actions would be a clear reflection of Your heart. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your wisdom in our words of response. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize the glory of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to grant us wisdom to reply to those around us in the same way that You would. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

Speak With Care

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV)

And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them. – (Ephesians 4:29, TPT)

 

Words matter. Words can build up or they can tear down. What we do with our words may have a lasting impact on the hearer, far beyond what we will ever know. This works with both encouragement and that which is destructive. One unkind, ugly or hateful word spoken carelessly, can haunt the hearer for years. If a child is already feeling discouraged and struggling, and someone comes along and tells them that they are stupid, that thoughtless word can become a barrier to them becoming their best self for an extended stretch of time. On the contrary, when a child is built up, encouraged, nurtured, loved and valued with words (and actions that prove them true), they soar as they are equipped to become the best version of themselves. Adults are no different. Marriages, friendships, work environments, etcetera – all grow stronger and become better when encouragement and grace are prevalent. I have experienced both, and the difference between the two is surviving and thriving. People surrounded by ugly and hateful words either join in and engage, attempt to bring change, or stay silent. Either way, it creates a survival sort of mentality. However, in an environment of encouragement and grace, people grow and become equipped to do likewise. May we watch our words with wisdom, knowing that what we say has the capacity to either build up or tear down.

 

May all of our words,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be spoken with care;

For words have power,

Bring life or despair.

Our words can build up,

Bring out other’s best;

As we encourage,

Receivers are blessed.

Yet in the same way,

Words that are unkind;

Can wound and destroy,

The ears that they find.

So, let all we say,

Be seasoned with grace;

Spoken with kindness,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the words that You have for us are love and life and light and full of goodness and grace. Thank You that You call and equip us to do the same with the words that we extend to others. Forgive us for the words that we have spoken that have wounded others. Teach us to stop and think before we speak, seeking Your heart and help to extend words that encourage and build up, rather than destroy. Show us how to love those around us with encouraging words and use each word spoken to help others become a better version of themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom for every word that leaves our lips. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth (Moreno) Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Choosing Circles

The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, NLT)

Good people are careful about choosing their friends, but evil people always choose the wrong ones. – (Proverbs 12:26, ERV)

Lovers of God give good advice to their friends, but the counsel of the wicked will lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, TPT)

 

Yesterday morning, our pastor spoke about the significance and power of our circles. Our relationships have the power to shape our lives emotionally, physically and spiritually. We have the freedom to choose who holds space in our circle, as each person’s circle begins and ends with themselves. Those whom we surround ourselves with ought to encourage us and hold us accountable. Who we walk with determines the person we will become. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – (Proverbs 27:17, NIV) “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.” – (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV) We have been created for relationship. The intention is for us to sharpen one another, not to corrupt. The circle we choose can make all the difference in who we become. May we seek the Lord and His wisdom as we learn to grow our circle with grace, so that we may encourage and sharpen one another for His glory.

 

We’ve the grace to choose,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Our circles ourselves;

We need the Lord’s help,

To choose people well.

Those who will build up,

When we’ve fallen down;

Will challenge with grace,

And straighten our crown.

We’re apt to attract,

Whatever we give;

Let wisdom and grace,

Define how we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the freedom to choose our own circles. Thank You that You give wisdom and grace as we ask, leading and providing the people that will encourage and challenge us the way You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected investing in our circles, or for forgetting that we have the freedom to choose. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading as to which friends sharpen us and which distract. Show us how to be the friend to those around us that encourage and challenge in love in a way that builds up and points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to surround ourselves with circles that are pleasing unto You. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth (Moreno) Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. – Proverbs 13:20