Tag Archives: control

3 Ways to Turn from my Old Ways

Five Minute Friday: Turn

Okay – I think I will continue to do my Five-Minute Fridays on my blog rather than Medium. This week’s prompt is TURN.

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Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

So I have 5 minutes to write on the word “turn”: Set the Timer: Go

I keep hearing the words from the Bible: “Turn from your ways”.

And that’s exactly what God told me when I accepted Jesus as Saviour in 2001.

” ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live’ (Ezekiel 33:11, NIV).”

There were many ways I had to turn from.

Here are 3:

Judgment:

I’m still judgmental. But not as bad as I was. Everything that would happen I would have an opinion and I believed my thoughts and ways were the best.

I am working on turning even further from that.

 “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Romans 12:3, NIV).”

turn

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Control:

Oh yes, I think that is how I am wired. I am a task-master, a doer, a person who likes to get things done. I want to fix things and make them right. I’m reminded of Peter – yes, he too wanted to make things right. Remember when he wanted to set up tents for Moses, Elijah and Jesus? He thought that was the right thing to do. It was not.

I have to learn over and over that others have thoughts and ideas too. I am working on that as well. But, as someone told me, “Don’t let go the fire that you have inside you. Just don’t burn anyone.”

Self-control – that’s what I am working on. Keep looking to Jesus.

turn

 

Fear:

turn

I worried constantly. The control part of me helped me do that. I feared climbing ladders, thunderstorms, speaking in front of people, what people would think, how I looked. And it goes on and on.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes (Matthew 6:25, NIV)”.

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Bible Art by Janis Cox

Now I learned to pray and I have heard that the best worriers become the best intercessors.

Jesus let me drop all that when I said to Him, “I’m yours.” Now I will go boldly where Jesus wants me to go. I will tread the waters and not look down.

These are my 3 big turns since deciding to follow Jesus.

Time’s up. Join me at Five-Minute Fridays to speak your mind about a prompt.

Other posts you might enjoy.

Control: Five-Minute Friday

How to Overcome Fear

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Excuse – Five Minute Friday

What Lay Hidden that God knew But I didn’t?

Today is Five-Minute Friday and the word prompt is excuse. Just write. Little editing. Join us at Five Minute Friday. Set the timer: GO

excuse

I didn’t want to admit it. We were discussing our attitudes to our family in a Bible study. We were asked to think deeply over past conversations. How did we act and react? I didn’t want to go there. I could hear my voice – my controlling voice.

It’s not nice to look back at what you said, is it? I used to be very controlling to my husband and family. It started with trauma but ended with a fear and a need to make sure everyone was safe. It had started before I really knew Jesus.

I had this urge to be watchful and careful of everyone. I didn’t trust anyone except my family.

For that reason I wanted to ensure their safety (as though I could??)

And if my way wasn’t followed then I would be very upset. I wanted everything done my way. No room for anyone else’s opinion..

So in this Bible study I made an excuse. I didn’t know. Or I lied. I am not sure.

I said that there was nothing that was wrong in my attitude with my family. Nothing. Nothing at all.

I went home. I thought and thought. I decided I had better ask Jesus if there was something that I was doing that He did not like. I prayed. I listened. God answered.

Yes there is something that you are doing. You are not trusting me. You are running afraid so you think you need to control everything.

Oh my. Convicted. Jesus was right. I saw my sin. I had also made an excuse. My sin had been hidden but now it was revealed.

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Do you have hidden faults? Are you making an excuse? Do you need to talk to God about them?

I found more hidden faults as I continued in that Bible study and in the years since. And now I continue to ask God to reveal anything that is not of Him.

I don’t want to make excuses to God. I want to be righteous before HIm.

TIME’S UP. 

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Abandon: Five Minute Friday

We are given 5 minutes to write without editing on a word every week. This week’s word is ABANDON.

abandon

Sometimes I want to abandon what I am doing. I ask myself why am I doing this? This is especially true about my writing and art. Sometimes I get discouraged and feel like giving up. But then I read God’s Word and He tells me to persevere, to not give up. He speaks to me about telling others how awesome it is to give ourselves to Him.

In a way that is abandoning too.

Can we abandon ourselves to Jesus?

Can we let all our cares be given over to Him?

That’s what He asks us to do.

How are you doing in that department? Most of the time I can do it – but sometimes I know that emotions and self get in the way and make me want to take control again.

Thank You Lord for Your Word – because Your Word always brings me back to the centre – to You. You remind me again and again that You are the Lord. That you are working in and through everything.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28, NIV).

That You have all things under control. That you know my thoughts and you know when I start to falter. I love it when I know that I can trust in You completely.

By abandoning myself to Your love and care, I can relax in body and spirit. (click to tweet)

You flood my being with Your Presence. You help me heal, get strength, have wisdom and see the direction You are heading me in.

I may feel tired and frustrated sometimes but I know You will never abandon me. I read Your Word and I know what is true.

 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed ( 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NIV).

Time’s up. 5 mInutes goes fast when you are typing and thinking. It’s your turn. What are your thoughts on the word abandon?

I am joining Kate Motaung again this week. You can join in too. Just follow the link.

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Faith & Friends Friday @ Counting My Blessings

Control: Five Minute Fridays

Control: Five Minute Fridays

It’s Friday night and I’m off to a conference tomorrow. I am taking 5 minutes to write my thoughts about control.

control

This has been a big issue with me. It’s what I have been fighting with for years. My controlling nature – wanting it done and done the way I want it. But I am learning – slowly that it’s better to let some things go.

I have learned to take deep breaths when I think I need to take over or make my stand. Somethings are just not worth it.

But I do get into the “fix it” stage when I want to make something right. (At least what I think it right.) And I know I have to back off. I am remembering that God is in control.

God will tell me when I need to step in and when I need to step away. (tweet this)

Giving up control is not easy. I have to keep asking God for help to relax and let Him take over. When I do I am astounded how wonderfully things turn out.

Even though I knew I wanted to finish a Bible study I was working on to take with me to the conference tomorrow, I didn’t fret or stress. I worked on it when I had a few minutes. And you know what – it got finished.

I knew I wanted to write this post but didn’t know if I could squeeze in the time. But it’s only 5 minutes. So it did get finished – only with me relaxing and see if the time happened.

Don’t you just love this? – follow God, give up control, and all will be well. Matthew 6:34 (tweet this)

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes (Matthew 6:34, The Message).

Time’s up. Your turn. What are your thoughts on control?

Join us at Five minute Fridays.control

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How to Overcome Fear – podcast

How To Overcome Fear – Podcast for Hope Stream Radio

Today on Hope Stream Radio I am talking about how to overcome fear. Fear used to be the way I lived. I became tense and irrational. Listen to what I learned.

how to overcome fear

 

How to overcome fear

Click on the link to hear the podcast: Click here.

Here are the show notes for those who would rather read the transcript.

How to Overcome Fear on Hope Stream Radio.

There are many things that have changed in my life since that pivotal moment in 2001. On an October day that year I accepted Jesus as my Saviour and promised to follow Him.

One of the first scriptures I memorized was Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I chose that Scripture because my life had been filled with fears – big ones and little ones. When I didn’t know Jesus I tried to control everything, my husband, my kids and my friends. That desire to control is still there but the Holy Spirit reminds me when I step over that line.

Losing control – or actually giving up control to Jesus is not easy. To give control to Him I had to learn to trust Him.

I learned trust by intentionally focusing my life on learning more about Him, through prayer and studying my Bible. I made Jesus my top priority.

Fear can strangle us.

Our passion, desires and dreams can be locked in a prison when we fear. (tweet this)

My fears held me back from living a full life.

When I committed this scripture to memory it started to be a part of me. I could say:

Don’t be anxious about anything.

I watched as Jesus torn down the walls of my fear and my hesitancy to try new things. As I wrote in my journal I learned more about me and my relationship with our God.

When I hit a roadblock, I prayed through it. I didn’t panic. I prayed.

I started to watch God in action. I saw Him open doors to a new life for me. I got excited. I felt a passion.

When I used to worry, my stress level soared. It made my sick – physically.

I heard someone say:

The best worriers become the best pray-ers. (tweet this)

I guess that’s me. I turned worry into prayer. Not only was there less stress , there was actually great peace, an inner peace.

Yes – a calmness overcame my rigid hyperness. I remembered to breathe in Christ when I face trials. I prayer. He answered.

There are so many passages that helped me overcome my fear.

The one I love the best is from 2 Timothy 1:7:

For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.

I learned it that way from the New English Translation.

Doesn’t that tell us everything we need to know. When we give our lives to Jesus – we become filled with His power and His love. And self-control, or discipline – what a fantastic byproduct.

The Message for today’s passage from Philippians says:

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

How is your life? It is filled with worry? Learn how to overcome fear. (tweet this)

Breathe in Christ.

Genesis 2:7 says:

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Jesus came to give us back that breath of life. This is the way we can overcome fear. (tweet this)

Breathe in Christ and live.

May I pray for you and me?

Father God, You gave us life. You breathed into us. Fill us up with Christ. Breathe life back into our lives so we can live in freedom, freedom from fear and worry. Help us to be alive with Christ. Help us to learn this. We know it make take time, but guide each of us in our walk with You. May the God of peace guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. In Your name, Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Until next time, look carefully at your life. Is there a concern or worry that you need to give to Jesus? Memorize Philippians 4:6-7 and may it help you as it helped me leap over my fears.

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Restore your life – Are deceivers blinding You to God’s purpose for your life?

What’s keeping you from following your purpose?

Are you looking to restore your life and purpose? What is distracting you?

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Photo from Free Digital Photos.net

 

I am continuing to study Titus using the SIMPLE Method of Bible Study and Ed Hird’s book Restoring Health. Today I am working through Titus 1:11.

If you want a PDF of the SIMPLE Bible Study –
please click on SIMPLE Bible Study by Janis Cox.

 

REstoring Health ed hird cover

Of course, I start with a prayer for God to open the Scripture to me.

S – Say the passage aloud.

They must be silenced because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach – and that for the sake of dishonest gain (Titus 1:11, NIVUK).

I – Identify the characters, the setting, and the circumstances surrounding this passage.

Since we have been following Titus verse by verse, if you are new here, you will need to go back to the beginning to better understand the characters, setting and circumstances.

Continuing from the last verse from last week:

They = mere talkers and deceivers

These deceivers are teaching things they ought not to teach.

M- Make a list of the thoughts, questions and ideas.

So how do we silence them? Everyone is involved – whole households. I wonder who the “they” were in Paul’s day. Were they people who knew God but started their own ideas? Or were they people who wanted to have people follow them – for the sake of dishonest gain. So they pretended to be “like” the apostles but without the sound doctrine of Jesus.

Were they Jewish rabbis who were following so closely to the rules they forgot to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God? (Micah 6:8) Remember Jesus got very angry when they turned the temple into a marketplace – Church is supposed to be a House of God.

I look at all that can deceive us. There is plenty. We have so much vying for our attention – TV, videos, movies, social media, sellers, Facebook ads, – all taking us on rabbit trails (some good some bad).

This all reminded me of Satan’s Letter.

What takes us away from the TRUTH – that we follow Jesus? Are we holding firmly to the trustworthy message as we have learned it from Jesus? (Titus 1:9)

P – Pray again for God’s guidance.

Make sure when you do this study that you take time for this step. Otherwise we are thinking our own thoughts and can be led astray.

L- Life – How can I apply what I have been studying to my life?

Deceivers come looking like goodness but they are covered up and we can’t see the truth behind them. Remember Satan is the devil in disguise. I chose the icon because Satan can  come looking like a Valentine.

the two greatest dangers to … the Kingdom of God, come from two directions, money and power… Money and power crucified Christ (E. Stanley Jones).

This reminded me again of the course by Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace. We need to get a handle on money so it doesn’t get a handle on us.

I wanted to look at all the areas of my life – all of them. Where could I be deceived?

Here is what I discovered.

POWER

That is self. I struggle with self sometimes, many times. I have to keep asking myself, am I going this for God or me?

SOCIAL MEDIA

I must watch how much time I spend on this. Which one should I focus on?

PROCRASTINATION

Of course I do what I like to do first, or what is most pressing. But maybe I need to stop and ask God where I need to focus my attention for that time?

ACTIVITIES/STUFF

God is really speaking to me about this. Is there something else I need to lay down?

About 10 years ago I heard my LIFE VERSE, “feed my lambs”. I have been trying to do this but I do go on rabbit trails. That is why this year my goal is to be Intentional to Restore my focus on God.

So in December I decided to stop writing for Inscribe, stop Under the Cover of Prayer, stop Family and Faith Matters.

I picked up being a contributor to Hope Stream Radio each Tuesday. I hope you listen to this wonderful online radio station.

And I keep hearing, do Sunday Stillness.

Of course then there are projects I need to still work on this. Which ones?

E – Exit the passage with a prayer for God to help you.

Lord, all of the things I am involved in are good things but they may not be where you want me to spend my time. Help me to wrestle through this. I am asking for clarification of the truth – the real road. Please point me in the right direction. Help me to learn the best way to “feed your lambs”. Help me clearly see and hear the deceivers. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Tweetable:

Are deceivers blinding you to God’s purpose for your life? (click tweet) 

2015 – my year for being intentional to focus on God’s plan (click to tweet)

CALL TO ACTION

Do you want to restore your life and faith in Jesus?

Are you struggling to find time to get to know God?

Are you anxious but don’t know how to deal with it?

Do you want to know what path God has for you?

Do you need more time reading your Bible?

I have a solution for you.

Join me on my FB Page called Growing Through Gods’ Word. We learn together how to pray and how to study His Word.

This month I am offering 3 – free spots  – to 3 people for a “coffee Skype or FB Messenger video” to talk over what you feel you need to accomplish these goals. The first 3 to email me get a spot. Email me at Janis Cox.

Sunday Stillness – How to live like Sons and Daughters of God

Sunday Stillness – How to live like Sons and Daughters of God

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Artwork by Janis Cox

 

This week I look at Titus 1:5 using the SIMPLE Method of Bible Study. I am also trying to memorize as I go. I have memorized this far. So far – so good.

S – Say the passage aloud.

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town as I directed you (Titus 1:5, NIV).

I – Identify the characters, the setting, and the circumstances surrounding this passage.

Paul had to leave Crete (we are not told why). He left Titus in charge. That was a big undertaking. Paul trusted Titus and found him dependable. The two of them must have started to spread the Gospel but had not begun to build churches so the first step would be to appoint elders.

M- Make a list of the thoughts, questions and ideas.

What is an elder? How were they appointed? Did they all come from one church? Where was that? How did they start a new church? What needed “straightening out”? What was left unfinished?

From Ed’s research I found out that during the time of Pentecost many Cretans were present and were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:11). Those people had gone back to Crete as spirit-filled believers, filled with hope. But trying to “fix” the pirates needed some straightening out. This takes time.

Building a church is no easy task and cannot be competed in a moment. (Paul) was naturally exceptionally talented, he never grew tired in all his work, and yet he confesses that he left the work half done…. it takes more than just a year or two to restore a fallen church (John Calvin from Restoring Health by Ed Hird, page 34).

The Cretans had met Paul – he had begun the ministry but it was up to Titus to build strong healthy leaders from the ex-pirates.

P – Pray again for God’s guidance.

L- Life – How can I apply what I have been studying to my life?

Many of us come from backgrounds we may not be proud of or actions we wish we had not done, words we wished we had not said. But we must remember that our “pirate pasts” were left on the cross. God uses each of our pasts for His glory and to spread His Word.

We are on a level playing field in God’s eyes.

 Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Romans 12:3, NIV).

That’s why we need to band together and encourage one another.

We are Sons and Daughters of a mighty God – Let’s live like that.

Personally, I love the words in my Bible that said – straighten out. Other NIVs said – put in order.

But really God needed to straighten me out.

For someone who used to lose her temper all the time when I didn’t get my way – I have changed. I still have control issues but they are much less than before.

My daughter gently asks her 2 year old when he find things not going as planned – “Is it a big deal or a little deal?” This seems to stop him in his tracks to consider his options.

We need to ask that question when we feel anger, worry or fear. If it’s a little deal – let is go. And if it is a “big deal” then we need to find out how to react in Christ.

God loves to be in all the details, big or little. But if we can remember to act in TRUST and HOPE at all times – big deals can become smaller ones, because God can works through all deals.

I love the quote: God is not finished with me yet. (Philippians 1:6)

So when we are in a temper state, a confused state, an uncontrollable state – STOP – reconnect with our Saviour. Let Him bring the peace and grace needed to work out a situation.

E – Exit the passage with a prayer for God to help you.

Lord, you took me from Titus and straightening out ex-pirates to straightening me out. Once again your Word has a life application. Thank you for reminding me that I am a work in progress. Continue to teach me and remind me to live in grace and truth every minute of the day. Open doors of knowledge – WIDE – from Your Word to excite, encourage and strengthen all believers. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.
Tweetables:

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Janis is the author of the award winning children’s book, Tadeo Turtle, published by Word Alive Press. Available in Kindle Format, in bookstores, online and from her website. Curriculum available upon request.

You can find her on Facebook, and Twitter. Tadeo has his own Facebook Page.

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Five Ways For Stronger Prayers

Five Ways For Stronger Prayers

by Janis Cox

Five-Ways-For-Stronger-Prayers

Read: James 1:6

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

and Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

The emphasis in each passage is mine. Here are my five ways to have stronger prayers:

1. Make a Conviction to believe

That takes determination and will power.  Reread the Scriptures. Say them over and over.

2. Keep to the Straight Path.

Do not look to the right or left but keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. (tweetable)

Say this Scripture over:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).

3. Keep on the narrow road.

Don’t try to widen the road. Keep true to the Word of God and Jesus.

Our lives should be an absolute hymn of praise resulting from perfect, irrepressible, triumphant belief (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, November 13).

4. Live

Live steady as she goes. Don’t rush ahead of God. Be prepared to wait, hold and even change direction.

Our faith must be built on strong determined confidence in Him (Oswald Chambers).

5. Hold fast to your beliefs

So much worldly stuff gets intertwined with what we believe. Clear it out and stick with the Truth. (tweetable)

We must continually focus and firmly place our faith in Jesus Christ (Oswald Chambers).

Prayer:

Thank You, Lord for the privilege of talking to You. I pray today with the conviction and belief that you hear our prayers and answer them. Right now I will lay down all my concerns and know that You have it under control. I rest assured that You love me and will always do the best for me, even when it doesn’t look or feel like it. I trust You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name I pray. AMEN.

One of my favourite songs – Shout to the Lord – My Jesus, My Saviour sung here by Hillsong.

Remember:

My comfort, my shelter,
Tower of refuge and strength;
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You.

Nothing compares to the promise I have
In you.

Janis Cox

Janis Cox - Author and Illustrator

Janis, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. A writer since 2003, Janis co-ordinates a group blog called Under the Cover of Prayer. She is also a contributor to a group blog called Family and Faith Matters.

Janis is the author of the award winning children’s book, Tadeo Turtle, published by Word Alive Press. She is the author and watercolour illustrator. For more information visit Janis on her website He Cares for You. She is a member of The Word Guild andInscribe Writers Fellowship.

Sunday Stillness – God is behind all things growing

Sunday Stillness – God is behind all things growing

Read: Matthew 7:11

I enjoy reading Oswald Chambers. Sometimes I jot down quotes that make me think. When I look at them again – I think some more.

I jotted this quote down on July 16th. Oswald talked about rules of conduct and how we need to live. Knowing that God is behind everything will awaken us to knowing who is in control.

He [Jesus] urges us to keep our minds filled with the notion of God’s control behind everything, which means that the disciple must maintain an attitude of perfect trust and an eagerness to ask and to seek.

AshTree---oswald-Chambers

From Wikipedia – Tree

Today is Sunday Stillness.

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Here are my favourite links for Sunday Stillness:

The Sunday Community

Still Saturday

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Scripture and Snapshot

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The Weekend Brew



GRASP – Five-Minute Fridays

Grasp

To Grasp or Let Go

One thing I learned in Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts – don’t hold onto things too tightly. Instead lay your hands open to accept God’s love. If we cling to something we can get tense, tightened shoulders, aching muscles, and pain.

I used to cling to control – over my family. I wanted to protect them – so I tried to keep control of everything that went on. I thought I could make sure nothing bad happened to them. – WRONG. My fear and control led to a very frustrated, angry person. Instead of enjoying each moment I got caught up in trying to lead and police everyone.

By letting go of my grasp – I opened myself to the guidance of a loving Father. I opened myself to the Holy Spirit. I grew in patience, in love, in gentleness. I even grew to like the new me.

I know I can never grasp the understanding of God – He is too big, too awesome and too powerful to be understood. But I can be reverent before Him, bless His name and want to live closer and closer to Him.

“The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom” (Isaiah 40:28, NIV).

Instead of grasp – I am learning to let go. Open palms. Accepting and loving each minute I am given.

Linking to Lisa-Jo’s Five-Minute Friday