Teachable Spirit 101

Teachable

Have you ever heard someone say that we need to have a teachable spirit? As a kid I heard this a lot. from teachers both at school and church but as with so many things from childhood many people said lots of things that sounded great but they never explained what they meant.

A few months ago I was in a conversation with hubby and I said something that made me stop and think about what I said. I said , I really enjoy working with people who have teachable spirits.” and as the day went on I began to ask myself what does that mean? What makes someone have a teachable spirit and some don’t?

So that’s when I started to really evaluate what it means. it’s taken months. Much longer than I had ever thought it would take. But in the end I have come up with 5 areas of teachability. I want you to really prayerfully seek out what God has to say about these areas of your life. after all it’s not about what we think about our lives BUT what God thinks about them!

(1) Are you more interested in taking in as much information as you can or are you eager to take what you learn and apply it to your life?

It’s not about how much you know (or think you know). What really matters is what you do with what you know.

Proverbs 1:5 ?NIV

let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance—

(2) Are You willing to Learn in every situation that comes your way? Are You willing to ask God to show You what He wants you to learn from your current circumstances before reacting to them?

When it comes right down to it it doesn’t matter what we think about our circumstances OR what others think bout them. God has a very specific plan and purpose for our circumstances. This goes from the very minute to the extreme

(3) Do You have a spirit of humility? Do You go into any teaching with an attitude of what can I learn from this. (HINT : YOU CAN ALWAYS LEARN SOMETHING BUT IT’S COMPLETELY UP TO YOU!!)

I know many people who will come away from a message or a Sunday school class saying they got nothing from it. OR they will say Oh I do hope so and so was listening to that. They really needed to hear that. the problem is we all need to really hear what is being said. I find it amazing that some people even feel the need to be insulting. This shows a severe lack of humility. Considering God has chosen that man to teach it shows a severe lack of wisdom as well.

Proverbs 11:2

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
    but with humility comes wisdom.

In Bible College this was seen frequently in young cocky students who came in thinking they knew more that the professor who has been preaching and studying God’s word longer than those students had been alive. There was a vast difference from the students who sought to learn from the professor verses the ones who sought to distract and argue with the professors. One group enhanced the learning process and the others created disunity and frustration. It kept the others from learning where the others fostered deeper learning usually by asking helpful questions..

James 3:13-18
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

(4) Do I let my emotions, attitudes, or preferences get in the way me learning what God wants me to learn? Do these things distract me and others from focusing on the greatest purpose of our lives: reaching others for Jesus?

I can’t tell you the number of times I have watched people spout off in anger just to eat their words later when they realized someone unsaved or new was watching them when they “sweated over the small stuff”. In one moment of the person being upset they ruined their testimony? was it worth it? Probably not. the Bible tells us again and again to put away all kinds of anger…and to be slow to speak and quick to listen.

Proverbs 14:29 ESV

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
    but with humility comes wisdom.

Colossians 4:5-6 ESV

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

(5) Do we seek understanding in situations rather than jumping to conclusions?

So many times we fail to think or see that God is doing something far beyond ourselves. We get angry. We pound our fists on the table and we stomp our feet and we raise our voices and generally act like toddlers having a temper tantrum..

Many times if we just took the time to ask some well thought out questions AND then LISTEN to the answers and the heart that goes behind it. The reality is we are small minded people. To quote Mary Poppins “sometimes we can’t se past the end of our own noses. ” We become self absorbed by our rights and preferences that we forget that God tells us to lay them down and die to ourselves.

So How do I make a change? How do I become a teachable spirit?

Well if you are asking that question you are headed down the right path.

Here are three easy things you can do to change our attitude

  • Start asking questions AND listen with an open heart to the answers.
  • Start asking ourselves what can I learn from the person teaching me?
  • Ask God to show yo what He wants you to learn and then listen to HIM because He WILL answer.

James 1:5-8 NIV

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 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. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

One of the greatest things I have learned on this journey of becoming a teachable spirit is that this all comes down to a choice we need to make. Do we want to be used by God or. do we want to be used against God’s purposes. Satan doesn’t want us to be teachable. he wants us to be angry and stuck in our ways. When I think of a person who was transformed the most from t unteachable to teachable is the apostle Paul. He couldn’t see the truth because his eyes were blinded by anger and contempt for the “new way God wanted things to be done. He was angered so much by the gospel that he persecuted and murdered people because of their faith in Jesus..

It took Jesus striking him physically blind for his eyes to be opened and for his heart to be transformed to a teachable person. What’s it going to take fr you and I to be transformed to being teachable. It doesn’t have to be so hard. Will you choose> Or will God choose for you? OR will you go into eternity feeling angry , bitter and unfulfilled. The choice is ours to make.

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Let’s Talk: Anger

Anger

Anger is everywhere! I don’t watch the news. I don’t even have the ability to watch the news on TV. This is probably a very good thing…for MANY reasons. I do however have social media. I KNOW there is a lot of anger everywhere in this world right now. It’s everywhere we look. it’s everywhere we go. BUT….even though it is highly prevalent in our culture and world right now that’s NOT why I am writing this blog posts. It starts with a bible study Called ENOUGH bySharon Jaynes.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this book and as I sat early Sunday morning working though the questions of Chapter 12 entitled “I Can’t Forgive the Person Who Hurt Me” some thoughts started rolling around in my head, somethings started to make some sense. Let’s start of with some definitions.

What Is Anger? (and a few other definitions)

Ephesians 4:31(NIV) says:

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

That’s a lot of words (all definitions taken from lexicon.com)

  • bitterness-Anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly; resentment.
  • rage- Violent, uncontrollable anger.
  • anger- A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.
  • brawling-A rough or noisy fight or quarrel.
  • slander-The action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.
  • (with EVERY form of) malice-The intention or desire to do evil; ill will.

YIKES. do you feel convicted after that? I do. Not to mention there are some pretty strong commands in that verse as well.

Let’s start with the very first one…GET RID OF ALL…and then in goes into all those words! Not some of them…Not most of them…….ALL OF THEM..

OUCH!

How do we do that?

The answer to that question is found I the very next verse….matter of fact as a small child THIS verse was etched into my brain in a little song we learned in our church’sWednesday night kids club.

And be ye kind one to another tenderhearted forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (do-do-do-dodo) Ephesians 4:32. I know I know it’s King James language so let’s go to the NIV

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

It’s not easy . Not being or getting angry is HARD!!! Our lives are riddled with hurts. Some unthinkable. “But Mary” you say, “you don’t understand.” Don’t I? I know that betrayal, domestic violence, abuse (of all sorts) tragic unexpected deaths, babies lost, children lost, teenagers lost, young adults lost, sickness, cancer and other horrific maladies of all sorts. Drugs, alcohol, pornography, violence, divorce, cheating spouses, broken friendships. All of these things…….we have walked the paths with friends and family in the last 5 years. we have held hands, wiped tears, shared in great pain.

It’s incredibly hard, but it’s a necessary choice, the choice to forgive. Many times without ever being asked to. I know I know to us that seems to be an impossible situation but I can tell you that it can be done. Holding bitterness wrath and malice in your heart only hurt one person….You. By holding onto the pain of all that has hurt you, you are giving that person the ability to harm you.

When you choose to forgive that person you are set free. But it’s a process Many times a moment by moment process. And as we actively choose to give over our anger, bitterness wrath and malice to Jesus we are slowly being freed from the chains that those who have hurt us.

Holding onto something that eats at us keeps us from being effective followers of Jesus. Our of our embittered hearts come volatile speech by which we hurt other people.

HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE!

This journey is hard enough without holding onto all of this pain! Won’t you join me finding freedom from all the hurt deep in our hearts?

Blessings, Mary

Let’s Talk- Contentment

contentment

Contentment 101

Definition of contentment

1the quality or state of being contentedThere was a look of contentment on her fac

Hey all!! It’s been a hot minute since I have shown my face around here . The last time I published a post was March 16th. the first day of quarantine here is NY. Today marks 3 months. Tomorrow is our two youngest sons last day of distance learning. And today as I was finishing up a set of study questions for a book I have been working on struck a chord- The root of the questions was contentment and as I began to work through each question I saw contentment with new eyes.

So let’s start our by defining what Content meant is.

Definition of contentment

1: the quality or state of being contented

There was a look of contentment on her fac

Synonyms 

  • content, 
  • contentedness, 
  • delectation, 
  • delight, 
  • enjoyment, 
  • gladness, 
  • gratification, 
  • happiness, 
  • pleasure, 
  • relish, 
  • satisfaction

Do you see that list? Is’t that kinda crazy? CONTENTMENT=Gladness? satisfaction? Pleasure?

Now you might be saying Mary- that’s No BIG deal. You can be content. when the sun is shining and the birds are singing. When Your kiddos are laughing and hugging each other. When Your hubby is helping wash the dishes. Yep That EASY. BUT what does the Bible have to say about contentment?

Contentment in Philippians 4

The study questions took us through Philippians. And if you know anything about this book you should know the theme is joy. Sound familiar? No, visit that list of synonyms of the word contentment again.

Before we get to the verses there are 2 things you should know about the book of Philippians

  • It’s written by Paul
  • He is writing this book from Prison

Let’s check out verses 11-13

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (NIV)

He says it twice…Do you see it? Being content in whatever the circumstance….being content in any and every situation. You might scoff and say HA this Paul dude has NO IDEA what he is talking about. I beg to differ. The very next question In the study took us to 2 Corinthians 11:22-28 NIV

22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I.23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stonesthree times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jewsin danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.

THATS a lot of bold print.

Perspective on Contentment

I really want you to let all that soak in….

  • Prison
  • flogged
  • exposed to death (not once but again and again)
  • 40 lashes (minus one) 5 times from the Jews
  • 3 times beaten with rods
  • stoned
  • shipwrecked 3 times
  • spent a night and a day in the open sea
  • constantly on the move
  • in danger in the river
  • in danger from bandits
  • a danger from my fellow Jews
  • in danger from Gentiles
  • in danger in the city
  • in danger in the country
  • in danger at sea
  • in danger from false believers
  • Often gone without sleep
  • knew hunger and thirst and often went without food
  • He had been cold AND NAKED (it’s one thing to be cold-it’s another thing entirely to be cold and naked That is a whole different animal.

On top of all of those horrible things he had to cary on with everyday life….he Labored and toiled….worked hard.

AND THEN on top of all of that he faced DAILY his concerns for the churchES. I emphasized the -ES in churches because the average pastor only has one church in their concern.

My life in View of Paul’s Contentment

I haven’t been flogged or stoned. I haven’t been in prison. I’m not in danger. Paul was in danger EVERYWHERE HE WENT. Can you imagine? And yet he LEARNED contentment in ALL circumstances. Not in some circumstances. ALL of them….the good, the bad, the UGLY. Yep the ugly. the cruel string of deaths within a year. Broken relationships. Hurt feelings. Broken appliances. Broken cars. Sickness. Quarantine. Social distancing. No electricity. No propane. No internet. Deaths of friends and family. Empt store shelves. Different ways of doing church. And everything else for that matter. World in turmoil. hurricanes, earthquakes riots, senseless death. And yet…my list seems so insignificant. It isn’t it’s just as important that I Learn to be content in ALL my circumstances

I can take the example of Paul and learn a couple of lessons.

Lessons Learned from Paul’s Contentment

  • Contentment MUST be learned. It doesn’t just happen It takes great work.
  • No matter what comes our way- no matter how dark and ugly can be faced with contentment.
  • The secret to having contentment in all things…in every circumstance….I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

What about you? Is there anything you have learned from our discussion on contentment? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Blessings, Mary

NOTE: Bible references from NIV and can be found on Bible Gateway

Lessons Learned in This New Season

Lessons

A lesson I learned a long time ago was no matter what you are going through there are lessons to be learned. And that is kids how I have lived my life since late high school.

God really does want us to learn and grow even from the smallest things he brings into our lives. It’s called having a teachable spirit (And there is a blog post on that coming soon) but for now let’s check out some of the quirky lesson’s I have leaned I the last 4 days.

Lesson #1: Can You Guess It?

Let’s just get this lesson out of they first, because let’s be honest as soon as you saw the title this is what you thought. Lesson #1 is that we have reached a whole new level of CRAZY!

You know it and I know it. I live in NY and we get some decent snow amounts but even in the worst sense of the imagination, I have never expected to experience the mass amount of “preparedness” that has seemed to reach epic proportions, not just here in New York but across the entire country.

Lesson #2: A New way to Menu Plan

Let me just start off by saying that this is NOT my preferred method. This lesson kinda hot me yesterday (Sunday) as I sat down to prepare my menu and shopping List for the week. And I unsnapped my two month menu plan I use to make my weekly menus and I began to assess what I had in the pantry and what I needed fro the upcoming week. And as I began to plan I realized something.

For the first time I didn’t have confidence that the store might not have what I was going to need to basic meals.

In our family of 6 we have some dietary needs as well. AND as the afternoon went on I learned that we were going to be embarking on a “homeschooling adventure of sorts. Good thing we have experience in that. BUT it meant that two kids who usually eat 2 meals a day at school would now be eating them here at home.

HMMMM…..I usually start stocking the kitchen with kid food weeks prior to summer break and yet now I had zero planning time.

So I wrote out my list and told Hubby that the list was bigger than normal to deal with extra breakfasts and lunches AND there was stuff that in case you couldn’t find………You can get this instead. There were a bunch of things he couldn’t find

  • Pasta
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Tissues
  • Frozen Veggies

Have no fear we have plenty of food. we know we have a couple of cases of chicken we ordered a few weeks ago so no meat wasn’t really on the list and we have plenty in our freezers as well. I keep a pretty well stocked pantry but there were somethings that we were out of.

So this week for the first time ever I have made my menu based on what hubby COULD buy. (FYI I do NOT like or recommend this method)

Lesson #3 Speaking of Tissues……

So we are sick- 4 out of the 6 of us to be exact. I know I know Go ahead let the COVID -19 comments fly…..Are ya done ? Ok good Glad you got it out of your system :).

SO I have a 1/2 a box of tissues. So naturally that goes on the list. Well I put it there and NO luck. ANYWHERE. normally no big deal right? Just grab the roll of toilet paper….Except for that new level of crazy we talked about in Lesson 1 had lftf us in a TP shortage.. Never in my whole life have I had to second guess the usage of TP. It struck me as humorous.

Here we are living in a first world country and enough panic has been created that we have created a shortage on something EVERY single person in the=is country has probably taken for granted at one point or another.

And I thought about the question that has been circulating for a number of years “What if you only woke up with the things you thanked God for Yesterday?” HMMMMMM!!! Maybe we should be thanking God for the simple things we seemingly take for grated.

I must confess that I have learned many lessons in menu planning but this one has been the most difficult to wrap my brain around.

Lesson #4 Local Businesses

Today in our area restaurants were told to move to a take out only model. . Earlier in the day I had spoken with a friend of ours who drives our kids bus. She is not working because the schools are closed. Her hubby owns a local restaurant (one we love) and how they might be forced to close and the government was asking them to still pay their employees. THAT’s difficult if you aren’t making any money.

By lunch time we knew that they had to switch to take out only model. They rely heavily on college students until summer but the colleges have all closed as well. So today we supported our friends and even though we chose not to dine in because of the sickness we got take-out.

Out of all of these lessons, this one is probably the most serious.

Lesson #5 A New Use For My Planner

Ok this one got me a little today. Hubby and I were talking about how we keep taking things off our schedule because of COVID-19 and as two Introverts this is not a big deal. I told hubby I was really glad that I use erasable Pens (PILOT FRIXON PENS to be exact) in my planner.

Hubby told me not to erase everything but to just draw a line through it so we have an accurate depiction as to just how much our lives have changed. So that’s what I’ve done and you will see that in a later post.

That’s the monthly part but what about the weekly part. Each week I sit down and write the weeks appointments in. well I haven’t done that this week because there isn’t anything to really move over. So instead I have decided to use it as a daily journaling space to keep track of what’s going on.

Different for sure and I am sure t is going to take some getting used to.

So there you have it, 5 lessons I have learned so far in this new season of blank canvas. Tomorrow I hope to blog about some of the fun things we plan to do in the midst of this new season.

I am a firm believer that you only get out what you put into something so if you put in a bunch of negativity into life’s lessons that is what you are gonna reap more negativity So let’s keep a positive outlook.

Let’s talk about it : What lessons have you learned?

This is a positive space so comments in a negative complaining light will be deleted.. Thank you and Blessings

COVID-19 & Kids with Compromised Immune Systems

COVID-19

Reality

CoVID-19 (or the Coronovirus ) is here, whether we like it or not. I hear the echos of many people saying JUST WASH YOUR HANDS, NO BIG DEAL…… but for our family it kinda is. We hear it all the time “You guys are sick a lot……” Yep we know it. We clean and disinfect and clean some more. But our reality is we have someone within our home who has a compromised immune system and with that comes a lot of issues….

COVID-19 and our family.

Hello My Name is Mary and I have a son with ASD- Autism Spectrum Disorder. And like most families with kids on the spectrum we live with A LOT of sickness. (And some families deal with weak bones)

That’s because our son with ASD picks up EVERYTHING. We wash hands, we disinfect, we use essential oils, we do vitamins, and supplements and we have a dishwasher. . And for the most part we as a family don’t catch the majority of what he gets. So when there is a major issue with something with the word contagious attached to it my ears perk up and I pay attention. COVID-19 is no different. Do we panic? NO but I now need to be aware and on guard.

When our not so little guy was first diagnosed 6 years ago he had some pretty interesting things that cued us into the fact that he might have ASD.

#1 HE LICKED E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G and E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E…No joke.

#2 He Had PICA- that means he would eat things that shouldn’t be eaten…Absolutely horrifying…and this took every mom trick I could think of…..(That clip from Mom’s Night Out- Sorry Mrs ________ you have called poison control too many times……Yep That was me!!) You can ave PICA without having ASD. it’s a form of anemia, but kids with autism can have it. Oh the stories I could tell! He hasn’t had PICA or licked anything weird in a LONG time, but in those moments I had no idea what was coming down the line. He was so much healthier that is until he got into school.

(There are a boat load of other symptoms but that is for another post entirely)

I Wish it was that easy.

I wish it was as easy as washing hands and disinfecting everything. Most people didn’t know the but we had to be super careful even clipping his nails. He was in Kindergarten and we clipped his nails. No breaks in the skin, not too close. To the normal parent it looked like a beautiful nail job but within a days time his finger was infected. it even baffled the Doctor.

He has had everything from strange viral infections, to skin infections,, psoriasis, and a very awful bout of athlete’s foot. He has become allergic to meds used to treat illnesses and had to be put on higher dosages or stronger meds. And even one time stripped his stomach lining to where he couldn’t eat anything an we had to start from a liquid diet, probiotics and then he grew stuff in his tummy that didn’t belong and that was a whole new set of OTC (over the counter) meds.

Today in New York State

Today here in New York State there are a bunch of really unhappy people and I get it it is a huge disruption to a lot of people’s lives. Our governor today shut down colleges as of Next week and they have become online school until this fall. I know this seems like an early reactionary move and it may be. But let’s be mindful of people who are on those campuses. Colleges are ready to head out on Spring break the end of this week. And there are big plans in the works for many students. Now I am not a promoter of these activities but in reality it’s a lot of people crammed into small areas and things spread like wildfire.

Now you may say Mary why do you care none of your kids are in college…..and for that you are right. My kids are not old enough to be at college however, everyweek my husband takes our youngest son to a college campus for therapy he doesn’t qualify for at his school.

Now that son could get germs and bring them home. He may not get a bad case of the COVD-19 but he has now shared this germs with the rest of our family including his older brother with the compromised immune system. He doesn’t seem to need to be around sneezing or coughing. He managed to pick up pneumonia this past summer while we were at camp. No one else was sick. He was around ZERO sick people….and then he shared it with me and I am super careful because as a person with Asthma getting the flu or pneumonia is dangerous.

(Let’s not get into the fact that my hubby is a pastor and visits and talks to people who are elderly, in the hospital and the like and I can cm into contact with pregnant women and babies where I volunteer). And of course we don’t go any of those places if we know we are sick.

So I gave you my take on our family but I have another question….

What should our response be as Christians?

Because you know the whole point of this blog is centered around our daily walk with Christ!!!

Response to the government officials? GRACE! They have to take am lot into consideration…..more than just how much it’s gonna be uncomfortable. They have to think ahead into scenarios that you and I might not even consider.

Here’s what the Bible has to say about this,

Romans 13:1-7 English Standard Version (ESV)

13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

God’s in control.

And then how about our response to families in these situations? How about caring, instead of passing judgement. My circle of friends have all experienced their fait share of illnesses this year and after talking with the various school nurses we can all rest in the fact that it’s hasn’t been as bad as some of the things floating around. At one point in one of our son’s schools there were five different BUGS traveling from kid to kid.

How about a little bit of understanding and love. How about a fist bump and a “Keep it up mama” instead of the “sick again?” comment.

We don’t know the circumstances behind sick kids. I can tell you that we don’t go around broadcasting our son has a compromised immune system, just like I don’t tell every person we meet that he has autism. It’s not easy having kids with Special needs We already feel like the world is judging us (and some of them are). AND we don’t really need a lesson in hand-washing , disinfecting and so on. We need people to see beyond all that and know we are fighting something beyond illness.

So just in closing here are a few other things we don’t do- Just in case you think that we are oblivious……

  • we don’t use drinking fountains
  • we don’t use hand dryers
  • we don’t do large family trips to grocery stores or any store for that matter
  • we disinfect shopping carts
  • we don’t use shopping carts unless necessary

So as a person who is a caregiver I get it and I am appreciative. I am sure it wasn’t an easy decision and even though I may not understand everything that goes into that decision I can rest in the verse up above. And I CAN have a good attitude about it because I CHOOSE to have a god attitude about it.

And yes I am aware this could happen at a school age level and yes I can choose to have a good attitude then.

I want to challenge you that with 1 in 8 kids having ASD what can you do in your sphere of influence to encourage a mama who is doing everything in her power to keep her family healthy? Let me know how you plan to encourage her in the comments below AND THEN DO IT!

Blessings, Mary