"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." ~ from ISAIAH 61 Bible verse for this Blog

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

"IN THE MIDDLE of the MESS ...

"IN THE MIDDLE of the MESS ...


... STRENGTH FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL, BROKEN LIFE"

by

Sheila Walsh

{release date 11/7/17}


is not just Sheila Walsh's story
but it's ours!

Sheila concludes her book
with this truth:

"No matter your circumstances ... You have a story, and that story has its own peculiar mess. You can confess that story to Christ and let go. You can let Him start a work of healing, even now, right in the middle of your mess. ... Together, we find strength for this beautiful, broken life." ...

"I believe one of the greatest miracles of all is ..." Sheila Walsh, "In the Middle..."
{you'll have to read her book to find out}


... however, Sheila weaves her story unwaveringly once again  (for some of us who are familiar with Sheila, or to capsulize it for those new to her life storywith complete vulnerability  throughout each of the 12 chapters with added recent updates in her life as well, that has brought her through a deep journey of (with) 'brokenness' that we can relate to in our own lives and 'messes'. Sheila has a personal style of writing and speaking that gently and compassionately touches our soul with hers while teaching us spiritual (biblical) ways that we too can apply and use to equip ourselves to connect with God and overcome our own struggles in life better through confession, community to share with closely, Scripture meditation (contemplation) and daily connection with Jesus in honest prayer (communication with Our Father). 

Midway through her book "In the Middle of the Mess", I discovered her first session of the DVDs that accompany her Study guide and this book, so I just had to order the Study Guide also. Although each chapter in the book ends with "Reflection", the Study Guide does so much more, breaking down the 12 chapters into 6 sessions of Brokenness (that was most helpful to me and well worth getting, but this is not a review of the Study Guide). Yet for me, it's a total package! The videos are so well done! 

I couldn't agree more with so many points that Sheila brings forth, chapter after chapter becoming my new favorite, until I was stopped dead-on with the following truth I read right before the middle of this book ... and then every line kept pouring into my own brokenness with more and more freeing, healing truth and deliverance.

"So many coping mechanisms, avoidance techniques, and lies. They kept me blind to where Christ was in the middle of my mess ... But this is the beauty:sometimes
even when we try to avoid the truth, God uses the smallest hands to invite us into the safety of deliverance."

There were moments of tears and moments of sheer delight as I continued reading through Sheila's words, Sheila's story and saw mine (though we hardly share the same past or story), each of us have gone through struggles that help us get the point being made, in such a relatable way. This is Sheila's gift to us. This is her lifeline to us (as Ann Voskamp wrote)! And it may be ours to someone else. 

This book is meant for everyone, not just those who have struggled with depression or deep hurts and messy lives ... it's meant for the weak and the strong to come alongside another human being waiting in the shadows, feeling isolated and alone, in need of a listening ear, a helping hand, an understanding, brave heart, willing to meet one another "in the middle" and find strength to overcome and go forward, changing lives for the better. Highly recommended read, church study, and for personal individual growth. I have much more to say but you'd be better off just getting a copy for yourself. Reading this book has given me a new found strength with God to deal with my brokenness and spiritual practices to put into use in my messes, and I know I will be rereading and turning back to this as a study again.


*{my actual book review is still coming}

I'm right in the Middle of the book - OK, just past that in

"Beautifully Broken"

which might be

the reason

for my

delay

but

my review 

is on its way

[After viewing Session One at Faith Gateway of the Study Guide for this book, I had to take a longer pause and view all 6 sessions available at Study Gateway because I couldn't wait. The DVDs that accompany this book and study are exceptional and so beautifully done! Sheila Walsh adds such compassion and understanding to her beautiful vulnerability of her own story used as a lifeline to help others facing overwhelming struggles with a new hope in allowing God into our dark places and hurts honestly.]


Book Description

"How do you turn your struggles into strengths? 

Beloved Bible teacher Sheila Walsh teaches readers how the daily spiritual practices of confession, meditation on God’s Word, and prayer result in fresh freedom in Christ. 

In her long-awaited new book, Sheila Walsh equips women with a practical method for connecting with God’s strength in the midst of struggle. From daily frustrations that can feel like overwhelming obstacles to hard challenges that turn into rock-bottom crises, women will find the means to equip themselves for standing strong with God. Using the spiritual applications of confession, prayer, and meditation on Scripture to form a daily connection to Jesus, women will learn how to experience new joy as a child of God who is fully known, fully loved, and fully accepted. 

In the Middle of the Mess, Walsh reveals the hardened defenses that kept her from allowing God into her deepest hurts and shares how entering into a safe place with God and practicing this daily connection with Him have saved her from the devil’s prowling attacks. Though we will never be completely “fixed” on earth, we are continually held by Jesus, whatever our circumstances." Thomas Nelson

*Posting before release in case you want to

PRE-ORDER
to
receive bonus gifts
{just click on link and pre-order at the top}
* written on 11/6/17
prior to my
review


Disclosure: I received this book free from Handlebar in return for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the  FTCommission’s  16 CFR, Part 255



Monday, November 6, 2017

MIRACLES in my MESS On Monday

{Just in case I do not finish reading to review by release date Tues., Nov. 7, 2017
I am sharing this so you don't miss out on Sheila Walsh's newest book}


"In the Middle of the Mess -
Strength for this Beautiful Broken Life"

a definite must read
especially for me
with a blog
named
"aMazing Grace - Mazes, Messes, Miracles"



FaithGateway

You can find out more over at Faith Gateway for a sample of this
Study of Sheila's book
also
You Version reading plan
and of course
Sheila Walsh's website

I just happen to be blessed to receive 
weekly devotional emails from
Sheila Walsh

here's a personal note from her and this book

Sheila also appeared on
Life Today
for
Wednesdays in the Word
since Oct. 4th
Part 1
 Part 
Part 3
Part 4
also one on 
"Facing Depression"

Clearly, I am a bit biased and have found Sheila Walsh to be one of my favorite authors because I relate so much to her experience (not the same details) but close enough for the same "miracles in my mess" {which is probably why these words are part of this blog since its inception and before Sheila put her story together with this title - "In the Middle of the Mess"and we all have Messes that God uses perhaps with Miracles that become our MESSAGE too! 

In this month of ThanksGiving, let's reflect on and with gratitude of how God turns our Messes into Messages to encourage and bring life changes in others, as Sheila Walsh speaks from her heart and life experience to help us find peace and strength in God, as we too struggle with hardships (or messes) throughout our lives, but we can encounter God by being authentic {like one of the other books I reviewed not too long ago: "No More Faking Fine" by Esther Fleece} letting us know God wants us to be real! ... with our brokenness, with life, with emotions.

I love the Group Discussions (which must be part of the study guide, because each chapter in the book ends with "reflections") that Faith Gateway shares after Session One video from Study Gateway on their site that I linked above, but have chosen this one for here: 

"Sheila noted the six sessions of this study. Which of the following holds the most promise for you? Which one makes you feel anxious the first time you read it?


  • Brokenness is the beginning… the truth of our situation, as bleak as that truth may be, can set us free.
  • Brokenness is hard… even on the darkest night, we never walk the path of grief alone.
  • Brokenness is loud… even in our noisy world, we can learn to live in the stillness and quietness of God’s presence.
  • Brokenness is to be shared . . . there is strength to be found in confessing our sins to one another.
  • Brokenness is the path to healing . . . when we fix our eyes on God, we live a life of thanksgiving.
  • Brokenness is temporary . . . what you are facing right now will pass."

"Brokenness is the path to HEALING!"

{fits both questions as the answer for me}

2017
God gave me
HEALING
as my
One Word

although I am not completely healed
I have seen "brokenness" as I've
seen in years before
so that I believe it will lead
to my HEALING and
hopefully
HEALING
for others


I don't think it's fair for me to review this until I complete reading the full book ... although my impression being half-way through the book, is as always ... a book meant for me (and you) to find "strength for this beautiful, broken life" and there is no one better qualified with compassion and experience than Sheila Walsh to lead us to God as our Source. My stumbling block in finishing this is so much of this is needed by me, applies to me, which causes me to go back and reread to be sure I got it and didn't miss it, but after seeing the Session One video, I am sure that Sheila Walsh has another best seller to add to her successes. Looks like I'll need to add the study guide, the saving grace is I cannot post my review at Amazon, etc. until the book is released. So my review is forthcoming and will be in time. Not only is this the "Bible Study of the Week" with Faith Gateway, but it is my Bible Study of 2017 and the competition has been really strong; lots of favorites this year aimed to help me heal and grow.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

THANKS GIVING THANKS CHALLENGE 2017 VERSES

2017 is closing quickly on us as we are already into the 5th day of November!

Image result for calendar november december 2017

and
as is tradition usually
in blog land
(probably Facebook now)
I join in a
GRATITUDE CHALLENGE

I found a new one
(that I think does it on FB too)
with verses reflecting on how 
the daily verse helps us remain faithful

so I'm joining in late with her


30 Days of Thanksgiving

especially because Mrs. C 
(the blog author of Food, Faith, Fatigue)
A Lifestyle Blog on Beating Burnout
appealed to me when she began
with


{which is also one of the books I am studying with YouVersion and LGG}

for 
DAY 1

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One
Let gentleness be seen in every relationship, for our Lord is ever near.
Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell Him every detail of your life, 
then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. " The Passion Translation (TPT)

In previous years, I have shared scriptures as well 
but let's look at these afresh and give our gratitude to God

Day 2
Colossians 3:16-17

Day 3
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Day 4
Psalm 100:3-4

Day 5
Psalm 118:28-29

"...I will bring You praise.
For You are the God of my life and I lift You high, 
exalting You to the highest place.

So let’s keep on giving our thanks to God, for He is so good!
His constant, tender love lasts forever!"

{as soon as I published this blog post challenge, I noticed the above blogger was no longer continuing to post daily so I am posting enough Thanksgiving Verses to keep us going with being THANKFUL and GIVING THANKS}

1 Chronicles 16:8

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!

1 Chronicles 16:34

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

1 Chronicles 16:35

Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather and deliver us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.

Psalm 7:17

I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.

Psalm 9:1

I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

Psalm 26:6-7

I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O LORD, proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds.

Psalm 50:23

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”

Psalm 69:30

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 95:2

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 100:4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Psalm 107:22

And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Psalm 116:17

I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.

Psalm 147:7

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!

Isaiah 12:1

You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.

Jeremiah 30:19

Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving, and the voices of those who celebrate. I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will make them honored, and they shall not be small.

Jeremiah 33:11

Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!’

Daniel 2:23

To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”

Amos 4:5

Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened, and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them; for so you love to do, O people of Israel!” declares the Lord GOD.

Jonah 2:9

But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!”

1 Corinthians 1:4

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,

2 Corinthians 4:15

For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 9:11

You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Ephesians 5:4

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

Philippians 4:6

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Colossians 2:7

rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Colossians 4:2

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

1 Timothy 4:4

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

Revelation 11:17

We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.

Revelation 7:12

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

*****

Psalm 103:2-5

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 136:1-3

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

James 1:16-18

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

{I will try to just keep adding on this page the verses but you can always just follow the link to Mrs. C's blog or FB, where she makes beautiful images with the verses and her own added special insights on her posts. I have not decided if I will write as she does yet, although that is the purpose of applying the verses and giving thanks to God every day, not just on Thanksgiving Day.} 

Thank you Mrs. C for your Thanksgiving Challenge for 2017! you were off to a good start and intention, I pray you are able to continue soon.

"... Your life might be hard right now. Things might not be going to plan. But you can still give thanks. 

“Our lives don’t have to be perfect for us to be grateful. (That won’t happen this side of eternity.) The truth is gratitude is a choice; a choice that honors God, transforms our countenance, and brings us into His presence.” ... Julie Gillies
Crosswalk.com writer Julie K. Gillies prays: 
“Lord, I want to cultivate a grateful heart. Please help me, Lord, and open my eyes so that I can see all that I have to be thankful for. Enable me to recognize Your hand of blessing in my day to day life. Help me to express gratitude to You daily, for that is Your will (Ephesians 5:19-20). 
“God help me to do all things without complaining (Philippians 2:14), so that I don’t grieve Your Holy Spirit. By Your power I desire to be thankful in all circumstances, for this is Your will for those of us who belong to Christ Jesus    (1 Thessalonians 5:18). 
“Lord help me to devote myself to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart (Colossians 4:2). May my heart overflow with gratitude to You, God, for You are good. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.” 

Other resource links: 
A Thanksgiving Prayer
and
Prayers of Gratitude
by Cindi McMenamin

Julie Gillies
more resources available through Julie
"Hot Mess to Blessed"
{which will also go with what I'm sharing Mon.too}
Crosswalk and iBelieve Daily Prayer

I thank God
for
YOU!




Saturday, November 4, 2017

"... HIGH PLACES"


Tyndale House Publishers
shared
"Hinds' Feet on High Places"
VALLEY
on
November 2, 2017
which was a confirmation
for me
directly from God to a
prayer/dialog
about
G.A.R.Y.
(my brother)
though I sometimes walk through the valley
and pass through some storms
I have a Good Shepherd


STORM



WINDOW

I am so very thankful for those

HIGH PLACES

and

glimmers through an open

WINDOW

which restores

my faith

my hope

my love

in

HIS LOVE

the love of my

Beloved

and

that

I am His
(as are you)

so we can get through this

TOGETHER 

BE
Not-Afraid
or
Much-Afraid

HE
goes before
YOU
and
with you
ALWAYS

<><><>

Thankful to Tyndale House Publishers
for sharing this at just the right time! Love their illustrations too!
One of my all-time favorite books
by Hannah Hurrad


I believe my brother Gary could have illustrated this for me also like his painting did, as it drew me to loftier places ... high places for even weary feet.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

G.rieving A.nd R.emembering Y.ou

G.rieving A.nd R.emembering Y.ou
(my acrostic of your name for today)

GARY


All day, I have put off writing, as I ponder and remember you this day, or might I say, lament and rejoice - can these words even go together? Can one grieve and lament yet still rejoice as one remembers a loved one? - a loved one gone too soon from your life at only 30, 4 years after our mother, 8 years before our father ... on this day ... November 2nd, known as All Soul's Day (in the Catholic Church; preceded yesterday by All Saint's Day) and in the Mexican culture Dia de los Muertos - Day of the Dead {somewhat morbid expression} however, all of this has been swirling through my head since midnight, unable to sleep once again with tvs blaring until 4 a.m. so I turn to my You Version to read what the day holds in God's Word plus two Bible studies: one in the book of Philippians and the other "Living Faith" (from some letters written in 1 & 2 Timothy; Titus; James; 1, 2, 3 John) so I think about writing a letter to you - I understand that there's healing in doing this. 

But I procrastinate and stay away from that ... I avoid grieving and even lamenting, since I am just learning, trying to focus on just remembering you, or some memories of you, with you ... pondering whether to drive out to Resurrection Cemetery, when I know that you're not there ... then I think about writing this blog and I search for previous ones I've written, knowing that many of my blog posts were 'drafted' and since this is November, often I was daily writing about something I am thankful for ... a daily challenge!

Of course, without a doubt, I am thankful that you were my brother, our youngest brother, my baby brother that tagged along often with me, although you were 6 years younger. We shared alot in common ... alot of dreams and a heart to serve people and being a teacher. You had gifts I didn't have ... yet since you have gone, I found out that some of them that I admired so in you and mom, were there inside of me too! That artistic side. So I go into my room to get my laptop & begin, I turn on the closest lamp and there it is - my greatest treasure from you {besides "Eagle's Wings" and John Michael Talbot} your painting that hangs on my wall:

[Gary's winter scene painting]

It's an original! 
It's yours! 
It's mine...

and so much like a farm down the road here in the winter
just not with the image of mountains in the background
or maybe they're just clouds that arise in my eyes

I run my fingers over your name autographed in the right corner

I am so thankful!

... as I now reflect on how many losses have taken place, even just this past month of October (my one fall month that used to be when I could enjoy the fall without recalling all the people that are gone from this earthly place to a heavenly home, as I cling to the hope I have in this but now October has become scarred by losses too). My 'grieving time' now spans over more months and my heart grows heavy and weary, if it weren't for my hope in Christ Jesus. 

I recall how I desperately needed to do something since the end of 2009, so I chose a series from Grief Share finally in 2011 while I was still in Mexico and signed up to receive emails from them for an entire year to help me deal or cope with loss:  "Journey from Mourning to Joy" (is what I called it on my blog) but Grief Share calls the study "Help for the Journey" {don't search for mine, because all 6 weeks have been drafted, but I was able to go back in the drafts and reread Day 1 of Week 1, the comments of support and I learned so much still ... } so I highly recommend going to Grief Share and also signing up for their emails, or now you can buy the book "Through a Season of Grief: Devotions for Your Journey from Mourning to Joy".

As I read and thought, I realized that God had this in mind when He guided me to begin two reading plans as a study in the book of Philippians with Love God Greatly; and "Refined -Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire" with Carol McLeod, knowing that I needed this to help me through in His Strength, His JOY so that I might rejoice after all these years and no longer grieve.

I choose JOY (and I go back and reread another delightful reading plan for today from Jennifer Camp, LOOP author)

"Daughter, I pour my light into you. I guide you and do not leave you. I have good plans for your life. I love when you step toward Me to realize them.
There is discouragement along the way-and distraction, too. But I keep walking ahead, and I reach out my hand, and I do not forsake you. I do not abandon you.
The path is filled with rock that can cause you to stumble-and weeds that entangle and attempt to trip you up. But I clear the path, in the midst of difficulty and sometimes rocky roads.
I clear the path.
My voice in you, these whispers to your heart, my words a blade of truth that swipes away uncertainty and doubt. Walk in the way I've prepared for you, this way full of twists and turns and hills and valleys, deserts and lush mountain-scapes.
I've walked this path. I walk it with you. How could I leave you?
You were made for this-to be with Me, walking this path, the path we walk together. Faith is not knowing the details of what the future holds, but trusting Me to be with you in it.

So keep walking with Me, in faith, along the path I've prepared just for you. That is where you will cling to Me most tightly, where you will feel my gaze steadfast upon you, when I will hold you.

Daughter, I never let you go. "

God is so good, just the perfect word

I know HE has guided every thing perfectly
lines up whatever crosses my day
for such a time as this
just for me

HE's so AWESOME!

"A Prayer for the Grieving Heart"  by Jennifer O. White
"You are Emmanuel, God with me. Thank You for being with me now as I mourn this loss. You are the God of all Comfort and I willingly receive Your comfort now. I do not know what Your comfort will look like or feel like, but I trust it even so.
My heart is broken but You are near. My spirit is crushed, but You are my rescuer. Your Word is my hope. It revives me and comforts me in especially now. My soul faints, but you are the breath of life within me. You are my help, the One who sustains me. I am weak but You are strong. You bless those who mourn, and I trust You to bless me and my family with all that we need. You will rescue me from this dark cloud of despair because You delight in me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen."

so
I do
REJOICE

not
waste more time
with the


"Day of the Dead"
which is not for believers
because of the tradition to prepare a meal
set out for the dearly departed to come back

for we believe
in
LIFE and the LIVING
our daily Bread and the Living Water

we know the
LIFE GIVER
 who can speak words
of
LIFE
not
death, despair, depression
and so can we over ourselves
over our loved ones

HE
raises
the dead and redeems
the lost

HE
breathes
LIFE
into dry bones

HE
helps us recall
the day of the
LIVING
and
our treasures in memories
as
HE
lifts our heads
giving us strength

filling us with
JOY
so
we
can
REJOICE
as we
REMEMBER
looking
forward to
what lies ahead


APOLOGY

On July 18, 2017, I drafted almost 3000 blog posts that I had published since 2008 when I began blogging rather than edit each one. So if you clicked from somewhere and ended up here and the post was unavailable, I am sorry. It would be too much work for me to go back through each one and fix. I guess I'm still learning. I apologize also to anyone who subscribes that perhaps received many old ones in your email. There's somewhat of an explanation on 7/19/17.
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This blog is ALL about HIM, for HIM, not about me!
I hope that is what you see
this is why I am



To my faithful visitors;
all of you who spend your valuable time here with me
I do appreciate you so much!

Thank you for taking your time to visit!

Love, Sweet blessings & Hugs!

DIOS TE BENDIGA
GOD BLESS YOU

always

Peggy