Posts Tagged ‘motivational’

Jenn’s Journey

Monday, August 17th, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

Happy Monday! I am so glad you are stopping by to read my thoughts and perhaps enjoy a cup of coffee and a break from whatever you are doing.

Last week I mentioned I was looking through a basket of old mementos. I’ve found myself in an end of summer cleaning mode. I go through this several times a year, the urge to purge. No drawer or closet is safe! The garage, oh, the garage…it’s definitely time for a sale.

Coincidentally, the sermon at my church happened to be on this very topic. The series for the month of August is on simplifying life. The premise of the talk was that ‘stuff complicates our lives. I find that to be true for myself…and I am an organizer at heart. The more stuff I have, the more stressed I feel. I think this is true for a lot of people whether they recognize it or not.

The pastor cited a study that was done on what happens in the brain when we buy something new. The area of the brain called the caudate nucleus, lights up when we buy ‘stuff’? Would you believe this is the same area of the brain that lights up when a person feels a deep connection to God? I find this very, very interesting.

How often do we think a shopping trip is just the thing to bring some cheer? The perfect pair of shoes, a purse, a cute shirt, home decor…anything to fill the empty spot for the moment. I know I’ve done this many times and usually on auto pilot. How long does it take for the excitement and newness to wear off? I watched my daughter rip open birthday presents last week, with frenzied excitement. There was hardly time to see what each thing was before she was on to the next bag. To be fair to her, she has played with many of those new toys, but the newness has definitely worn off… already! So much so that she was begging for a stuffed animal from the store two days later.

I am not suggesting that we never shop, or not give/get birthday presents, or that we should give all we have to the Goodwill. I am however wondering if it’s easy to get the ‘fix’ we need temporarily by filling life with things. Things can never take the place of close relationships, particularly one with God. If our brains are wired to light up when we have a deep connection with Him, why are we letting things take the place of that? This is a question I am asking myself as I prepare to downsize my junk and simplify my life.

In Luke 12:15 Jesus tells us “…life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”  “Stuff” can never fill the space that He can. Hebrews 13:5 says “be content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”

May you look up to Him for that contentment when the urge to get more stuff hits you!

Until next week, be blessed,


Faith Filled Fridays From Croley’s Corner of Chicklit Power

Friday, August 7th, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

I love you, Lord! You answered my prayers. You paid attention to me, and so I will pray to you as long as I live. Psalm 116:1, 2

It’s Friday and I’m so glad you’ve joined me at Coffee Hour. As I look back on this week I marvel at the insight from Jenn Lea and Evinda’s blogs. You certainly know the wisdom of the Lord that pours from their hearts. Such comfort in knowing He communicates through many who care for each one of us in our journey, so it’s not by happenstance you stopped by today. Grab your coffee or tea, and your journal as we begin to search our hearts when it cries out!!

Not long ago I had a breach in a relationship; hard as it was I knew that I had to rely on God to get me through it. I have never been one that likes confrontations, yet I know they come into our lives for a purpose not only to teach us the ways of Him but also for others who too may be wrestling with certain struggles in their own lives. God works so differently in us all, yet He always wants what’s best for us and what brings Him glory. So often when our hearts are heavy or in pain, we run to friends or family members pouring out our hearts! I too have done the same and I’ve also been told I have broad shoulders to cry on, now and then.

Certainly I have the qualifications to give wise counsel; however, I still only know in part and though the motives of my heart may be right, it’s just not possible to have all the answers and to know all things.

We find in Psalm 139 God’s perfect knowledge of man. Wow, how exciting to know that He is always aware and knows of our existence and situations we face. His word specifically tells us that He looks deep into our hearts and certainly knows the very deepest chambers of our souls! He knows when we’re resting and when we’re working.

Imagine every phase of our lives is like a big screen to Him, He sees it all. I’m so glad He doesn’t change the channel. He understands our thoughts from heaven. When we feel unprotected, His powerful arm hedges us from every side; and even before we speak a word He knows what we will say!  How comforting that should be to us; for no one I know has that kind of knowledge of me, even my husband of 43 years.

In my times of struggle I wanted to reached for my phone to call for wise counsel (Proverbs 11:14) and in that desperate time I truly only needed a word from the Lord. I needed comfort, healing and instruction, rather than from those whose concern for me may have been merely an emotionally answer and sometimes honestly our emotions can get the best of us. Let us not be hasty in our actions and seek for an immediate response.

He is our life line and He truly has our best interest at hand. He gives us answers to our situations when we don’t understand or see what we may be facing. He won’t steer us wrong or give us an answer that engages with our emotions.  During these times we must NOT lean on our understanding or on others….yet we MUST lean on Him until we receive an answer and our hearts are comforted enough to continue to walk in the plans and path He has for us. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Remember He is closer than a friend and He is not only waiting but wanting to hear from you in order to answer your hearts cry.  In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears. Psalm 18:6

Life has been a bit rocky yet my hope is anchored in Him that He is working everything out for not only my good but for the good of others as well! James 3:17

Have a great week and remember to keep Him close to your heart….love your friends…. More so, love on your family….God entrusted them in your life for a reason…seek out wise counsel but know ultimately He is your wise counsel with great advice!!!


Debbie Croley PicDeb

Tuesday’s Trench Lessons 4 Life

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

Oh, coffee hour friend, are you in for a sweet, transparent Trench Tuesday! Grab your favorite beverage and a journal and join us for Lea’s Trench lesson!

I am in the trenches, digging at all my roots that cause my wounds, weaknesses, and worries. It is quite a journey! I began about two years ago, but I was not ready. I did not soften my heart. I did not turn over my weaknesses to the Lord for Him to turn into strengths. In 2nd Corinthians 12:9, it says: “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I glory rather in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

His grace is sufficient to make me strong. I just had to let go of my control, or illusion of control, and let Him lead me. I have to tell you, that it is so freeing! Of course I am not free every minute, or even every day. I do forget that I am not in control, and try to just take over. But He knows how to humble me, and gently remind me that I can relax.

During this process of uprooting, I have really looked at the good, the bad, and the ugly of my life. I feel like there are parts that I am not ready to see. Then there are parts that I don’t want to see, but Heavenly Father knows it is time, and I can take it. He knows when I am a “big girl.” He also has helped me to see ways in which the adversary has tricked me. In the scriptures, we are told many times about how crafty the devil is, and how he will try to turn things around and lie to us. I came across 2nd Corinthians 11:14, which says “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

I was touched by this scripture this week. I had been contemplating my past, and happened across some old pictures of someone who had hurt me almost 20 years ago. For two decades, I have been struggling with a horrible painful memory. I even saw this man about a year ago in a store, and had a panic attack! When I saw those pictures, and then read that scripture, the Lord sent me a message that hit me like a TRUCK. This man did not hurt me. I chose to participate in a situation that I was not proud of. Somehow, in my brain, Satan had turned this memory into a falsehood, where I was now the victim instead of the perpetrator. That “truth” took hold of me so much, that I truly believed it. Instead of facing my shame and asking for forgiveness for this act, I had been hiding behind it.

What do I do with this information now? I immediately prayed to know what really happened. Then, I truly did ask for forgiveness, not only for the act, but for living so long with it still in my soul. Then, I called the few people that I had told this story to, and corrected myself. I let them know that I had deceived myself, and let them know of my wrongdoing. I had already given it to God, so I had no fear of them judging me. If they have judgment in their heart, it is something they will have to live with. I truly am sorry for this, but I know the Lord has forgiven me, and I am free. He will remember it no more.

I think that I will choose to remember this, but not shamefully. I will remember, so that I can share my experience with others. We are here to help each other, and to be a stepping stone to God and Jesus. I ask you now, if you are struggling with a wound, weakness, or worry, do not hold onto it. Let it go. Give it to the Lord, and then share it with someone. You never know how or when your experiences will touch another.

Until next week, God bless you!


Embracing the Waves of Change

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

EL pen Logo with heartWow, we are just a couple of days away! Whew, grab your coffee, or whatever you’re having and come on inside. I still have so much to share with you before our celebration is here…but I won’t keep you long! Grab your SOF too, and let’s tie some knots in our strand of faith about change!  So as we have been planning and working together for this celebration, we have experienced some of the greatest challenges regarding change…unbelievable! God has such a great sense of humor and knows me well. He wants me to continue to talk from my heart to yours, to speak from experience transparently.

As I was researching some of the greatest challenges as it relates to change, I couldn’t believe how many I’d encountered and gone through; some I sailed through and some I crawled through, completely on my knees, with much resistance! 🙂  Many researches do these stress scales based on life-changing events and for each change, the assess the amount of points  (I don’t know how they come up with the point system) allotted for that event. On this particular site, this group of psychologist/psychiatrist had approximately 63 life changing events and while I won’t give you all 63 – we’d be here all day! – I thought it would be interesting to list the top ten stressors/life changes and their point value.

  1. Death of a spouse was given the highest point value: 100!
  2. Divorce was next with a point value of 73.
  3. Marital separation was next with a point value of 65
  4. Imprisonment – hmmm, I wonder how many of these were marriage-related – with a point value of 63
  5. Death of a close family member tied with #4
  6. Personal injury or illness scored 53
  7. Marriage itself had a score of 50, confirming marriage is tough…but is also a beautiful teacher in the classroom of life, if we are willing to learn!
  8. Dismissal from work was scored at 47
  9. Marital reconciliation – hmmm, that’s interesting scored at 45. Could insecurity, fear of failure be why that’s even a stressor?
  10. Retirement is the last of the 10…but there are some other good ones, and retirement tied with marital reconciliation at 45.

Now, I don’t wish to leave you with stress…so let me give you a powerful quote about change…and I pray you will join us for this life-changing event on how to embrace change…oh, and don’t forget, there’s a concert featuring Bryan Duncan and brunch too!

Progress is impossible with change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything!

(George Bernard Shaw)


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Get your tickets today…they’re $5 more at the door!


IMG_8444-2 blogEvinda

Jenn’s Journey from Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Monday, July 20th, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

Another week has passed.  I spent a few days away, in the mountains. There is something about being in nature’s beauty that gives a new perspective. Every now and then, we need that. Thank you for joining me for a few minutes away from it all this morning!

There was once a man who had 100 sheep. His job was to shepherd these animals and watch over them. Each day he led them to pastures plentiful with grass, and to streams of cool water. He kept a watchful eye out for wolves who might hunt them. If a sheep was hurt, he bandaged the wound. Each evening he rounded them up and took them home, to shelter and safety. At the gate, he counted the sheep to make sure each one was back where it belonged. One night his count came up short by one. He counted again. Sure enough, only 99 had come home.

Of course, he was immediately concerned. He hurriedly locked up the 99 and went out, weary though he was, to search for the lost. Frightened cries led the shepherd to a ravine, and a mass of thorny bushes. Finally, the lamb was rescued, comforted, cleaned up and home safe with the other sheep.

As the story goes, the lamb had wandered away from the flock and ended up lost. Has this ever happened to yojesus.lambu? Have you felt separated and lost from what is safe and familiar? Do you ever feel you are down in a ravine, trapped with no way out? I certainly have. Life has a way of doing that to us…sometimes by our own choices, and sometimes by way of others foisting their choices on us. Whatever the situation, it can seem hopeless and as if those thorny bushes are closing in.

I am here to tell you, it is not hopeless! There is Someone who notices that you or I have gone missing. He knows our stories…the good, the bad and the ugly. He is out looking for us and He wants to bring us home. He longs to bandage up our wounds and set us back on the right path. He has done this for me so many times. If you’ve ever been crying out, and a friend calls at the right time, or a touching song plays on the radio, inspiring words jump out at you from a book you are reading, or you just feel a comforting Presence, you’ve been found by the Shepherd.  He will treat and heal that which has wounded us. He does not leave us alone, or afraid.

The story above can be found in Luke 15:1-7. It’s one of Jesus’ parables. It is a beautiful story. Wherever you are today, may you be blessed, knowing He has found you!

Until next week,


Embracing the Waves of Change

Thursday, July 16th, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

EL pen Logo with heartThanks for stopping by for Coffee Hour and this mini-series, Embracing the Waves of Change with a special invitation to learn how to do so! Grab your coffee, or your favorite beverage, and your Strand of Faith and let’s go learn some more about change!

I had this vision a week ago that has everything to do with change and it helped to confirm the value of change, as well as the necessity for it: picture a body of water…standing water, non-moving water. From a distance, it may look peaceful, and possibly even pretty. But when you get up close and peer down into the water, it is anything but pretty. In fact, it may even repulse you as you even begin to imagine what is beneath the surface of those murky, dirty and often green waters.

Why does standing water look so unkempt, untouched, dirty and grimy? Could it be because there is nothing new being poured into the water to move the water?  It takes change to create change!

What prevents us from allowing change to change us, remove us from a state of staleness, preventing us from hitting a wall of burn-out? Oh, Coffee Hour friend, please prayerfully consider this invitation which will talk about not only the necessity of change, but how to embrace it so to be like new…daily!


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See you there!

IMG_8444-2 blogEvinda





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Tuesday’s Trench Lessons 4 Life

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

Happy Tuesday, my friends. Grab your favorite beverage, and possibly something to nibble on while you join me today. As my sweet friend Kim-Evinda says, I am going to try to be transparent today.

My mom wanted me to watch a movie with her called The Holiday. There is a story line where a woman from England is on vacation in LA to get away from a man she is “in love with,” that got engaged to another woman. You with me so far? Well, this woman meets an old movie writer on the street. He tells her that in the movies, their encounter would be called a meet cute. Actually, he explains that since they aren’t romantically involved, it “isn’t so cute.” He compares a lot of actual life to stage directions and scenarios in the movies. Later in the movie, when she is telling the writer about this man that she is in love with (who has just been taking advantage of her throughout their whole “relationship”), he tells her this:  “In the movies, we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason, you’re behaving like the best friend.” She then replies: “You’re supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, for God’s sake!”

When I first heard that line, I immediately thought of my life; who wouldn’t, right? I thought about the times when I have allowed others to make me feel small and insignificant. I thought about my first marriage, when my husband cheated on me, made me feel like I was inadequate sexually, and then told me the divorce was my fault because I couldn’t communicate properly. I allowed this man to just run me down! I acted like the best friend in this situation. Next, I thought of my second significant relationship. The father of my third child was someone whom I had barely known, but who I quickly fell in love with, or so I thought. After I was pregnant with our son, I discovered he was married!!!! I realize that there was a lot of naiveté on my part in that situation. Nevertheless, this older man proceeded not only to run me down, but to pulverize me! I remember feeling like just a scrap of a person. Total best friend behavior!

Then, I recalled the early part of my second marriage. My husband had cheated on me, but I recall that I didn’t really allow myself to react; after all, this is how all relationships went, right? I certainly didn’t feel good about myself, and I definitely did not feel like the leading lady! Through lots of prayer and healing, my husband and I got passed the infidelity, and grew to be a strong family. I feel as though my husband has been the leading man in his life, and helped me to act like His leading lady because of HIS (Christ’s) love for me! You heard me right; yes, I said his leading lady. I have married this man, and we are sealed for all time and eternity, so I have no problem saying I belong to him, and he belongs to me. That was a foreign concept coming from a single parent home, but I have embraced it!

Now, there is a whole other side to the spectrum, my friends! It is bad to have best friend behavior when you should be the leading lady, but what about leading lady behavior when you should be the best friend? I tend to be just a tad bit on the controlling side *cough, cough. I like things how I like them, and I prefer to be in the lead. This is not always the most popular attributes to have 24/7. Sometimes I need to let others lead. Sometimes, I need to accept that I cannot have it my way. I always need to accept that it is not always going to be like I envisioned. I need to allow myself to take the back seat, or at least the passenger seat (baby steps!) We read in Jeremiah 29:11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future with hope .”  The Lord has planned greatness and blessings for us. The only people that can get in the way of that are ourselves! I struggle daily with giving my life to the Lord, but it is something I strive for. May we all work at turning over our wheels this week and learn when to be that best friend and when to be the leading lady in the movie of our lives!

God Bless you all


Embracing the Waves of Change

Thursday, July 9th, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

EL pen Logo with heartThanks for stopping by for our special Invitation Thursday where we will be talking about embracing the waves of change as well as extending you an invitation to come celebrate with us! There is so much to celebrate…and yet, change is not something that many of us do celebrate! Grab your coffee and your SOF and let’s tie another knot in your strand of faith!

The dictionary definition(s) for the word change are: “to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone: to change one’s name; to change one’s opinion; to change the course of history.”

That last definition literally screams the loudest to me, especially in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling which will forever change history as it relates to marriage and family…not a change I can or ever will embrace, nor do I wish to blog on this subject. Romans 12:18 tells us that we are, as much as is possible, live peaceably with everyone…including those we disagree with who are trying to change the God-created definition of marriage and family! There are just some things we can’t change when a change that we disagree with touches our lives in profound ways. So what is it we do? Do we crouch down and submit? How is it we can “embrace” this decision which will surely bring waves of change?

The only answer I hear whispering in the hallway of my hurting heart is: Put our eyes on the Healer, not the stealer…and let’s take the gavel out of our hands, quit pointing fingers and instead invest that energy into prayer!  We ultimately know who wins in the long run.

Coffee Hour friend, friends of CPM and Trench Classes United, please accept this invitation from my heart to yours and join us for a concert, brunch and a workshop too…


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Changing toward heaven…

IMG_8444-2 blogEvinda





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Seven Sacrifices to Joy

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

EL pen Logo with heartIt’s great to have our Coffee Hour and to write from my heart to yours. I know we’ve finally picked up speed and are moving through this series at a much quicker pace. In case you’re wondering why, well, the whole communication piece took the longest because it is the key to all the other sacrifices! So as we turn the corner and head to the finish line of this series with only three more sacrifices to go, I am excited to hint at a new series coming after this one. It involves four-legged children who steal our hearts … yup, dogs! I’ll be co-writing it with our Director of Development who taught her dog how to say “I love you” and of course she passed that lesson on to me and we, in turn, passed it on to our four-legged kiddos! Anyway, I’m looking forward to that fun series and the laughter and joy it will bring! Let’s get back to The Seven Sacrifices to Joy. Grab your coffee and your Strand of Faith and let’s go talk about the fifth sacrifice, joy!

So how could joy be one of the sacrifices to joy? Well, hopefully I’ll be able to paint the answer to that question in this blog.

It seems strange that offering joy before the Lord is considered a sacrifice. However, when we look around and see how many Christians do not exhibit joy we may begin to understand. When we offer up joy, we tell God that we are rejoicing because we have Him and know Him. Joy takes on many forms which actually involve all the senses: hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, feeling. Various things that we listen to can cause the joy within to rise up, for example, in the midst of a noisy day, to stop and take a little worship break and break forth with songs and praise to the Lord. Or how about the calmness that touches our soul when we sit still before the crashing waves from His glories oceans? Or what about the sweet sound of life coming from singing birds; doesn’t that sound squeeze our hearts with joy?

Oh, and His creation beckons and stirs our joy when we take in a glorious sunrise or sunset as the Creator whispers good morning or sweet dreams. The fragrance of flowers, their vibrant colors, their quiet ability to captivate…. Joy!

But how would we know joy if we hadn’t experienced sadness or unhappiness? It is the experiences of the antonyms of joy that increase our joy! It is through those times of the stretching of our faith and increasing our trust boundaries that our joy is not just stirred but increased!

Our joy can be active because of God not just for the good times, but also in the painful circumstances. Joy is based on our internal hope of our eternal destination!

This joy enables us to rejoice in and thru all circumstances, but it doesn’t mean we are joyous for those circumstances while we are in those circumstances! How is that possible? Because of our faith and trust in His faithfulness. And here’s something that can seem a bit unfathomable: Even when we are faithless, He is faithful. Now that’s something to offer up a sacrifice of joy for!

And when life’s difficult situations come crashing upon you like a giant wave, pray for strength to lay aside the innate tendency to worry, to exhibit fear and anxiety and instead, to offer up the sacrifice of joy. God will be well pleased!

Until tomorrow …

IMG_8444-2 blogEvinda

Jenn’s Journey from Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Monday, June 1st, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

It’s June! The year is almost half over; can you even believe it? Time is flying by. All the more reason to enjoy each day we’ve been given! So glad you are here for some coffee time with me. 🙂

Just the other day I was at a get-together of a group of moms that meets twice a month. It was our last meeting of the season. We take the summer off since many of us are so busy this time of year. The devotional was on the topic of gratitude, a topic that has been on my mind a lot in recent months. One of my friends who also is a physician who teaches smoking cessation classes told us that gratitude was one thing they talked about with their patients. If a person who is addicted to cigarettes takes a moment to think about something he/she is thankful for, it can interrupt the negative thinking that leads to addictive behavior. I find that simply amazing.

Apparently scientists are finding out that we can change our brains with the thoughts we think. Thoughts create pathways in the brain, and studies are now finding out about something called “neuroplasticity,” which means our thoughts change the structure and function of our brains. Positive thoughts and activities can actually rewire and strengthen the brain areas where positive feelings are stimulated. I don’t know about you, but this news makes me happy! I’ve always known I tend to look on the negative side of things and I am really glad to know that I have a chance of changing this about myself!

Are these facts really “new”? As I was pondering this today, I remembered a few Bible verses that speak of this very thing. Often we hear this one quoted “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8.

Ever noticed how thoughts can quickly bring you down, or up? These days it’s hard to train our brains on lovely thoughts when we are bombarded with negativity from every side, let alone what we come up with on our own!

A friend’s post on FB said “Describe your life the past year in one sentence!” Do you know that only a few answers to this post were of a positive nature? Some of the answers included “Walking dead!” Another was ” Nothing but full of crap!” “Stress filled!” “Unhealthy!”  I read that after I had just came from my meeting where we had come up with great things we were thankful for so this post really struck me. I found myself feeling saddened by how easy it is for us to look at the ugly side of life. I am not suggesting that we ignore the ugly side by any means; it exists. We are walking wounded and life is not easy, but what if we could change how much it affects us?

In my “Jesus Calling” devotional, Sarah Young said the main way we open our lives to His Light is by giving Him our thanks. The Bible speaks of this too in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18 “Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Wow. That sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it? I can think of quite a few scenarios where I would have a hard time finding something to be thankful for. It might take awhile for the worn pathways in my brain to change…but I for sure am going to make an effort!!

What are you thankful for today? Who are you thankful for? Feel free to share! Until next week, be blessed.