The 12 Steps Of Forgiveness

  Forgiveness is hard.  It’s hard because it feels like WE are the ones losing when we give it, but that is a lie.  Satan loves it when you feel that way, because you just hold it tighter in your clenched fist. You own it. You wear it. You live it each and every day.

  Guess what? You don’t have to ANYMORE.

  Forgiveness the very foundation on which we stand, saved by grace. Jesus wants us to lay our burdens and hurts down at His feet, to let HIM have them, to release us from our heavy load. He is a gentleman. He will never take them from you, He simply waits for you to hand them to Him.

The burden of unforgiveness is a hard one to bear, for it is like swallowing poison every day, and expecting the other person to get sick. Eventually, it is you who will die inside.

Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

  Me choosing NOT to forgive, is like saying what Jesus did on that cross was not enough. I need Christ to simply flow HIS forgiveness THROUGH me. My job is merely to be open to this, I don’t have to be healed or “in a good place emotionally” for this to occur.

  Please take a moment to watch this music video, the song is BEAUTIFUL!  It will be the best 4 minutes you spend today.

   YOU are the reason He died a horrific, slow, painful death.

Y-O-U. 

  Isaiah 44:22 “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

  He would’ve died if you were the only person in the whole wide world.  Because He loves you.  He wants to be in eternity with you.  He wipes out our transgressions for HIS own sake.  That is incredible!

Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

  I am going to share 12 Steps of Forgiveness with you.  I encourage you on your journey to complete and total forgiveness of the person who hurt you, to work through this list.  Print it off and put it next to your bed.

Take it, one step at a time. Check them off as you complete them. Date them if you’d like. It may take weeks or even months to get to Step 12, but do it! Be thorough. Make sure one step is DONE, before moving on to the next. Bathe this list in prayer and ask God to help you forgive.

Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for FREEDOM, that Christ has set you free. Stand firm then, and do not be burdened again by the yoke of slavery….”

How about the yoke of unforgiveness?

You don’t have to wear it anymore!

The 12 Steps of Forgiveness

Galatians 5:1 says “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

1) I own the pain and hurt. I own “My Truth”.

John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

2) I get in touch with my feelings and thoughts about it.

3) I express my feelings and thoughts to God.

Matthew 9:4 “Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?”

4) I decide to forgive, and say it out loud.

5) I surrender the right to get even.

Proverbs 20:22 “Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.”

6) I decide to put up with an uneven score.

I Corinthians 13:5b “Love…..keeps no record of wrong.”

7) I let go of my feelings. I Surrender.

Psalm 50:15 “…call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

8) I cease defining the person who hurt me in terms of the hurt they caused, and become open to the possibility of the person changing positively. I begin to pray for and bless that person.

Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you.”

9) I cease defining myself as a powerless victim.

10) I begin to look for the good that God can bring out of it–with my cooperation!

Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

11) I let go of the misuses of the wrongs, such as an excuse for revenge, irresponsibility, blaming, and assume responsibility for my attitude, thoughts and behaviors.

Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

12) I become freed from the power of the hurt, such as the bondage of anger bitterness, mistrust and self-pity.

Romans 5:3 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance…..”

No matter what, keep your chin up, and remember….GOD IS BIGGER!
~Tonya

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”8) White as snow

Birthday Cheesecakes

This is post 2 for today, head back to post one to read about my Encounter Weekend and teaching on Forgiveness.

These are the perfect mini treat for your birthday sweet!

Birthday Cheesecakes

adapted from Laughter & Lattes

(click for easy printable)

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Ingredients

FOR THE CHEESECAKES:

  • 24 whole Golden Oreos, I Used Double Stuffed!
  • 16 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Softened
  • ½ cups Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Vanilla
  • 2 whole Eggs Beaten
  • ½ cups Sour Cream
  • ⅔ cups Dry Rainbow Chip Cake Mix
  • 1 Tablespoon Sprinkles (plus More For Top)

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 4 ounces, weight Cool Whip , Thawed
  • ½ cups Milk (plus More As Necessary)
  • ¼ cups Powdered Sugar
  • ½ boxes (3.4 Oz Size) Vanilla Pudding

Using your Kitchen aid, combine softened cream cheese and sugar, beating until smooth. Add in vanilla, eggs and sour cream. Do not over mix.
Measure out cake mix and sprinkles, fold in to batter.

Line 2 muffin pans with liners. Place a whole Golden Oreo in the bottom of each liner. Divide cheesecake batter between muffin liners.
Bake at 275* for 30 minutes. Remove cheesecakes from oven, and cool on the counter for a bit, then refrigerate until serving time.

Make your frosting by combining cool whip, milk, powdered sugar and vanilla pudding, adding more sugar or milk until a nice frosting consistency. Pipe onto individual cheesecakes and sprinkle with additional sprinkles!

Enjoy!

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A Weekend At Women’s Encounter

I  attended my second Women’s Encounter this past weekend.  This time as a Server, rather than an Attendee. 

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  If you remember, Women’s Encounter played a very big role in the saving of my marriage.  Although it was so incredibly amazing, I never wanted to go back.

Ever. 

I just thought it’d be so hard to go back and face those memories.

  I was wrong.

It was healing. Freeing.

AMAZING.

  Not only did I attend, but I did the 20 minute teaching on Forgiveness. Talk about out of my comfort zone! I think God likes to keep us there on purpose, so it’s ALL HIM!:)

      I was privileged to serve an AMAAAZING group of extraordinary women, alongside my best friend. The praise music was rockin’, the voices of 130+ women, lifted in unison, gave me chills…all praising a Father in Heaven that loved them too much to keep them the way they were.

 There were many, many burdens let go this weekend. Many captives set free. Marriages Saved.  Lives changed.  Many tears shed. Many intercessory prayers, raised.

It was breathtakingly beautiful!

This is NO “retreat”. This is a tear down the walls, lay it all at the feet of Jesus, come back new and changed kind of weekend. A weekend SO bathed in prayer, before, during and after, that you can feel the power of the Holy Spirit reverberating through the room. Incredible.

     I am too emotionally drained to write anymore, so instead, I’d like to share a bit of my teaching with you, I had photos that went along with each section, because, photos are worth a thousand words on their own!  I’ll include a few of those too, for fun………..

   I am here today to talk to you about forgiveness, to tell you how to live forgiveness, to paint a picture of what it looks like in action.  The reason I know how to do this, is be cause I am currently learning to live it every single day of my life here on this earth.
See, I sent my husband of 9 years, to July 2011’s Men’s Encounter because I1) wedding was ready for him to kick it up a notch, as the Spiritual leader of our home.  He came home ready to be that man, but he also came home with an ugly secret. A secret of betrayal of the very covenant our marriage was built on.  The horrible gut wrenching pain I experienced that night, was caused by MY LOVER.

MY SOUL MATE.

MY VERY BEST FRIEND.

The man I loved most.

The man I SAVED myself for.

The man I gave EVERYTHING to.

Everything I held dear to me was stripped away and there I was, just reeling in the shock and pain of it all, sobs wracking my body, as on hand clung to my husband’s neck like a life line, the other hand, formed in a fist, pounding his chest, SCREAMING at him: How DARE you! How could you!?

The man I was one with, had become one with another. 

The man I gave my heart to, had discarded it for a few moments of lust.  The man I gave my everything to, had weighed the cost and found me the loser.

  I felt my heart fall out of my chest and down to the floor, where it shattered in a million pieces.

Life would never be the same, would it?

  I was divorcing my best friend, taking our 4 kids and walking.

2) 4 little Fergusons

He had made his choice…….

 I had made MINE!

    I went on to talk about God the Father, the Great Healer, the restorer of my soul.  The God who makes beauty from the ashes of our lives, if only we LET HIM.  I told them about my first Encounter and my moment on stage at church after I got home:

  I take a DEEP BREATH my throat thick with tears, my eyes seeking Dale out in the crowd: “And to my husband…….I want you to know that I love you, and I FORGIVE YOU. You are my soul mate, and what God has put together, Satan will NEVER separate because……..I. choose. us.“

3) Love of my life
He came running up to the stage bawling and swooped me in his arms. As we kissed and cried I looked him in the eyes and told him over and over, I forgive you, I DO! I feel so great! So light and free!    It was one of the most beautiful moments in my life!

6) I AM FREE
I am so free, I am so light, I am a NEW woman in Christ. I am loving Dale fully with my whole, restored, new heart……….

I talked more about forgiveness and what God says about it.  Why its required of us, then closed with these final 6 thoughts:

1)  Forgiveness is not some fluffy feeling. It’s a decision to release the guilty person from future punishment and to stop focusing on them.  Even when we don’t “feel” like forgiving, we need to forgive in order to live. “Feeling hurt” is a fire alarm for our souls.
Picture this: An apartment’s fire alarm blares. Instead of escaping, tenants decide to wait to take action until they “feel” the heat of the fire. Would that be reasonable? No way!
If we don’t forgive, we’ll burn up with the fire of anger, we‘ll be goners before we even take our chance to escape.

2) Forgiveness isn’t about the past, it’s about the future.
You can’t change the past. It’s done. By choosing not to forgive, you’re allowing the negative past to affect your present and future. You were bought with a price, don’t let that other persons actions own any more.


3) Forgiveness is an ACTION
. When you choose to forgive, you’re choosing to let go of the resentment and bitterness that can build up in your own heart.


4) Forgiveness is more for YOU, than THE OTHER PERSON.
It’s FOR YOU. Just go for it and choose to forgive, YOU are the benefactor!  They’re out of the picture at this point. Forgiving isn’t the same as forgetting. It isn’t a divine form of amnesia. God doesn’t ask us to live as people without a history or pretend that sins never happened. In fact, being able to recall how God has delivered us through these storms, empowering us to confess, forgive, and overcome, can give us hope and an anchor in future storms. Stories of forgiveness and reconciliation can also become part of the way you seek to strengthen and encourage others in their lives.


5) Forgiveness is a decision to sacrifice.
God’s forgiveness required the sacrifice of His Son to pay the penalty for sin. Our forgiveness requires sacrifices, too, though of a different sort. On some days, forgiveness will seem natural and easy. On other days you’ll feel ready to give up before the day is done, but work at it. Fight for it!  Growing in forgiveness will require you to stay focused on Jesus, interacting with Him and learning from him just as you must do in every other area of life.


6) Freedom is a choice, CHOOSE IT.
  FORGIVE, and you will be set FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    For when you genuinely forgive, you set a prisoner free and then discover the prisoner set free was……YOU!

   Tomorrow, I want to share the 12 Steps of Forgiveness with you.  And next month, I want to teach you how to make the flip-flops I made for Kasey and I to wear to our Encounter weekend. :)

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~T

4) Nail cross

The Best Blog Readers EVER & Weekend Potluck #28

Before I go into our usual Friday routine of Flashing back to a recipe favorite, or sharing some yummies from Weekend Potluck, I just wanted to say……

 I have the BEST Blog readers EVERRRRRRR.  

You guys just fill me up, bless me with your notes, encouraging comments and keep me going when I want to quit.

Look what got delivered to my house yesterday:

Oh. My. Goodness.

A great big THANK YOU to two Mom’s of 4, Sara & Stephanie, who cared enough to brighten my day with these GORGEOUS flowers!  

And the vase? One of my favorite colors in the whole wide world, and totally perfect for my kitchen decor!:)  

  Your thoughtful card was as lovely as the flowers!

Thank you so much for sending me sunshine, sweet friends! God bless you!

Now, on to Flashback Friday, where I re-feature a recipe from the archives, because some things are just worth repeating:

Today, we are flashing back to Tomato Basil Pasta Cream Sauce with Kielbasa Sausage & Mushrooms.

Say that title 10 times fast!

Actually don’t.

Your mouth will be too full of creamy, tomato-ey, delicious goodness. Didn’t your Momma teach you to never talk with your mouth full?!?!?!

This recipe was featured on PW’s Tasty Kitchen, and I know you are gonna love it too!

Tomato Basil Pasta Cream Sauce with Kielbasa Sausage & Mushrooms

adapted from this recipe of my friend, Lark.

062

  • ½ whole Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Green Onions, Optional
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Pressed
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 16 ounces, weight Sliced Mushrooms
  • 1-½ pound Kielbasa Sausage, Sliced
  • 24 ounces, weight Classico Spicy Tomato Basil Spaghetti Sauce (no Worries, It’s Not Spicy!)
  • 2 cans Tomato Sauce, 15 Oz. Each
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • Cracked Pepper To Taste
  • 4 whole Fresh Basil Leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig Rosemary, Snipped
  • 1 pint Heavy Cream
  • 4 Tablespoons Corn Starch
  • ½ cups Cold Water
  • 1 box Whole Wheat Linguini Pasta Noodles

In a large pot, melt butter. Add white onion, mushrooms and pressed garlic.
Add in the sliced sausage and cook until browned. Stir in green onions if using (I have excess in my garden right now, so I put g.onions in everything!)
Stir in salt, seasonings and sauces. Slice basil in thin strips and stir in. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Blend cold water and corn starch, then slowly stir into tomato sauce. Continue to stir as it heats and thickens. (about 20 minutes)
Cook pasta, rinse and drain while you wait.
Whisk in the heavy cream, turn burner to medium-low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Ladle over noodles when ready to serve.

This dish is company worth and tastes like you worked WAAAAY harder than you did!

Enjoy!


Now, let’s take a quick peek back at last week

The recipe with the most clicks was ~

Cheeseburger Macaroni

Cheeseburger Macaroni by Everyday Mom’s Meals

Recipes that caught our attention ~

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars by Ginger Bakes

Deep Dish Peanut Butter Cookie Ice Cream Sundae

Deep Dish Peanut Butter Cookie Ice Cream Sundae by Crazy for Crust

And, a personal favorite ~

Taqueria Style Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

Taqueria Style Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken by That’s Some Good Cookin’

Your hostesses ~

Remember that when you link up, it shows on all SIX blogs. Plus…

We TWEET. We PIN. We LIKE.

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  1. Please link up to your exact post and not the main page to your blog.
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When you are kind enough to follow our guidelines, we work hard to get you as much exposure as possible so that your time here is well invested. We want this to be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone!

Click on the link below to be taken to a whole new page of deliciousness!



Florida Family Fun

  Our Florida company packed up and headed out.  We miss them ALREADY! Avery keeps asking if they are coming back yet?  We are so blessed that they are willing to come our way, to come hang with us each year. We wish they’d stay a month!:)

  I thought it’d be fun today, to share the photos from our week together:

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Looking at photos of Aunt Ashley’s wedding venue and dress!

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There’s been a bike theft!!!!!

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Destiny, I think Daddy is too big for your purple bike!

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Watching the Bike Show and relaxing….

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Pax says enough is enough…..

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And proceeds to try to tip his sister over…..

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Papa saves the day and Avery is all smiles…..

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  So, last year, for my 30th Birthday, Papa  & Drea brought me a lovely gift…

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A new-to-me table from their consignment furniture store.  One big enough to seat our growing family, plus a guest or two! 

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  I have been in the market for a matching hutch ever since.  Guess what I found in their store while I was visiting my new baby nephews?

A matching hutch!  YAY!  And I even bought it with my own photo money I’d been saving, thankyouverymuch.  :)

  Thanks to Papa & Drea for delivering it to me!

Before:

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After:

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The best part of all?  For the first time in TEN YEARS, I got to get my antique china out of the boxes they’ve been hidden away in.

  A silver and white set from my Great Aunt Mary {not pictured}, and an ivory and gold set from my Grandma Beckler.

IMG_4082 Both sets fit underneath this hutch, along with my cake plate and some other big items! I am so excited to have more usable space in my kitchen!!!!!!

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  Since it was over 103* all week, Drea took us to Target and let the 3 big kids pick out a movie.

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What a special treat to get to eat supper in the living room during tv time!

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Who could these GORGEOUS flowers be for?

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“They are for YOU, Momma!”

  Sweet Avery went to the grocery store with Drea, and INSISTED her Mommy needed these flowers because she loves sunflowers.  Precious. 

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   The next day was Destiny’s birthday!  Birthday tradition in the Ferguson household states, you can open ONE gift in the morning, but the rest have to wait for after supper.

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The Birthday Girl also gets to pick supper, dessert and does not have to do ANY chores the WHOLE DAY! 

  Destiny picked spaghetti.  With all our extra tomatoes, I decided to try my hand at homemade sauce. WOW, was it ever tasty!  Recipe to come next week.

Spaghetti Sauce

I’ll share the recipe for her Birthday Cheesecakes on Monday.

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Destiny picked to go to the museum that afternoon, again it was SO hot, like 108* so we thought that was a great plan!

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We learned all about the “Harvey Girls” and the train station waitressing they had to do and QUICKLY!

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Drea wishing she could be a Harvey Girl???:)

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The museum has a GREAT kids hands-on play area:

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Even the “big kids” had fun!

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When we got home, it was birthday time!

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I’d like to take a moment and point out Paxton back there “helping” big sis blow.  I love that we caught him blowing mid-drool.

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Ewwwwww!

These mini cheesecakes were KILLER!  Can’t wait to share the recipe.

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The kids don’t get dessert very often, so you can imagine, Pax in particular was thrilled with this new sweet stuff!

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Check out the bottom left pic, when he realizes he has DROPPED his yummy on the floor!  The next photos after that are his face when he realizes he still has a morsel left on the table, phew!

  Silly Paxton!

Now, for present time:

FINALLY! Destiny says.

She got two more from us, for a total of 3 gifts.  This applies at both birthday’s and Christmas, just like Jesus got 3 gifts from the wise men.

Clip on Earrings

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Papa and Drea got her some pretty cool stuff, too!IMG_0207IMG_0209IMG_0211IMG_0216

Yessssssssssss……IMG_0218

  We hired my crafty cousin, Brent to make this bunk bed for Destiny’s dolls AND he even sewed the mattresses himself.  A TALENTED young man, I tell you!  And a new daddy as of yesterday, CONGRATS!:)

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The rest of the evening was spent playing with new things….

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Pax thought the curry brush for the horse would be nice to use on dolly’s hair.

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She apparently needed some feed too……

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Hmm, something is just not right here.

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There, that’s MUUUUUCH BETTER!

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The other kids thought the big box was equally as fun as the toys….especially with Papa around to give them rides!

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Before we knew it, our week with Papa and Drea was over.  IMG_0290

We had one last special supper together!

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The next morning, it was time for them to go…….

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Bye, Papa & Drea! We love you and miss you already! Come back soon…..

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~T

Flower Garland

  It’s wedding season, and I wanted to share with you a couple of “budget” decorations that we used at our Vow Renewal.

  First things first:  Old Jars.  Totally gaga in love with them. 

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  I knew I wanted to use them to decorate the barn for our I Do: Part 2, and God TOTALLY provided.  I found a whole wooden crate of them next door at Papa Don’s new place.  LOVE stuff like that!

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  Now, I needed something inexpensive to fill them with!

  Here are the fabrics I bought for the banners that hung on the barn doors, so whatever I selected, kinda needed to go with that color scheme. 

I knew I didn’t want sand….

Then, inspiration! 

(I can’t recall from where..Maybe Pinterest?! It seems that where all my inspiration comes from these days…)

SPLIT PEAS!!!!!!!!!!! 

And they were super cheap, less than $2 a bag!  They held a glass votive candle perfectly!

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  We lined the aisle with them.

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  A friend of ours from church helped us decorate, and she brought these amazing turquoise jars for the staircase. We filled them with different colored beans and tucked a votive inside.

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  Affordable, yet beautiful!

  Now, for the Flower Garland.  I think I found this on a wedding site when I was looking for ideas, or Pinterest.  I can’t recall, but this idea was not my own, I can tell you that.

  My grandma gave the kids a box of books from an auction. YAY! We love IMG_3939reading!  One of them was a bit spooky for our taste, an old magic book.  I knew if would be PERFECT for what I was wanting, with its ivory old pages and turquoise colors.

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You’ll need an old yellowed book, and some string or lace.  I added the buttons because I wanted the wood element, and liked the look of it. I found these at Wal-Mart.

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First step, rip out each page and accordion then like the fans you made as a kid.

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Take each accordion and fold in half.

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Glue two halves together to form a circle.

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Glue any of the center creases that are releasing, (as pictured) by putting a few drops of glue in the center of the paper flower.

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Hot glue buttons to the center if you’d like.

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After they are dry, attach with more hot glue, to your ribbon or lace.

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Viola! A gorgeous vintage flower garland for your wedding or party needs!

I plan to use this for photo sessions, or if you had the house for it, it’d be great mantel decor!

  Happy Crafting!

~T

T-Shirt Scarves: The Perfect Gift!

We had many, many people to thank for helping with our Vow Renewal.  Some got money, some got gas cards, some got the Sunflower arrangements after the ceremony.  The couple that loaned us the barn got a framed picture of their barn that I took, and added a verse to:

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But I had more people to thank, some lovely ladies to be exact.

Remember a while back, I posted about making some t-shirt scarves?

Well, when it was time to think of Thank You gifts for the remaining participants of our Vow Renewal, I knew this was the answer.

So, I made 3 of them.

One for Shelby, our soloist, which I tried on here.

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ANNNND, I made one for me out of Shelby’s extra material! IMG_4825

{What? There was just enough left!}

One for Kasey, who made gobs of cookies and spoke:

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And one for Ann, who had driven a long ways, just to sing “Our Song”. The very one she and her husband, Lynn sang at our wedding 10 years ago.

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The girls LOVED them! :)  YAY!

{Ann, not pictured}

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Shelby’s & Ann’s are a mixture of link style and spaghetti knit scarf made in a yoke styles,  Kasey’s is all loops with tassels at the end.

The one I have on is a regular spaghetti scarf.

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Oh, and while I was at it, I also made a Ruffle Scarf in Cougar colors for Destiny’s teacher:

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I was so busy working on completing all these BEFORE the renewal date, that I did not take photos of the process. Sorry!

However, AFTER the Renewal was all said and done, I still had one thank you scarf to make, and I did take the time to photograph it.

First, take a print t-shirt, stripes or tye die would be great!

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Cut off the top of the shirt.  From the bottom of the sleeve seam down, so that just the tube of fabric that covers your back and tummy remain.

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Cut off the bottom stitching too.

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Now, take that tube of t-shirt, and fold it in half, leaving a good inch more on the bottom half than the top half.

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Cut all the way through the folded layer, not going beyond, like this:

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Cut strips until you have completed the entire row.

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Run your arm through the loops.  See that uncut section?  There is now a strip of uncut t-shirt on top.  IMG_7523

Tug hard on the top and bottom of the loops like this…..

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Take a strip of cloth from the sleeve and gather the scarf at the uncut section and wrap like this:

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Tie underneath wrap to secure.

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Ta da!  A spaghetti scarf. The fastest and easiest of all t-shirt scarves!

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Here is a link to the instructions for how to make all kinds of t-shirt scarves:

My Blessed Life Scarf Tutorial

More of my scarves here: https://4littlefergusons.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/t-shirt-scarves/

Have fun!

~T

I Do: Part 2 {The Video}

Before I go into today’s post I want to share something with you.

Our friend and mentor, Harold, emailed us and said: “Did you have the Vow Renewal at a Horse barn on PURPOSE?” 

  Then he attached this:

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  2 very valuable, broken horses in the field next to the horse barn we renewed our vows in. 

Our jaws hit the floor. 

NO, we hadn’t planned it that way. 

We simply wanted a more casual venue then a church, and a vintage barn style renewal appealed to me.

  Do you remember why “broke” and horses mean so much to us?

Go read The Dream, then you’ll see why! 

   Only God could orchestrate something this cool.  To HIM be all praise and glory and honor!  For what we see as just strings, He sees as a beautiful tapestry.

  On to the post:  The video!  YAY!

  I specifically hired a professional videographer, rather than having someone run my home video camera, for you. 

  And for me.  But you were a lot of it. :)

  I thought it only fair since I shared my ashes with you, that you get to share in the Beauty part, too.

  Deanna and her husband, from Today for Tomorrow Productions did an AMAAAAZING job!  They were so kind, and went the extra mile.  They were very good about answering emails and communicating with us before our big day. I highly recommend them!  {You will see why in a second!}

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  So today, I am sharing first a Highlights clip, then the full video, divided into several videos since youtube only allows 20 minutes at a time. I understand the full video may not appeal to you, but watch as little or as much as you desire, and praise the Lord with us, for what He has done.

~T

Highlight Reel

 

Vow Renewal Part 1
Vow Renewal Part 2

I Do: Part 2 {The Ceremony II}

  This is post 2, head back to post 1 to read in order.

The ceremony continued……IMG_6267

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A big thanks to Pastor Mark for coming out multiple times to set up and run the sound system for us!  Couldn’t have done it without him!

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  After the ceremony, we served cookies and farm fresh milk…..

IMG_6818edit{Thanks to Kasey and Eileen for making all the cookies!}

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We also served Fruit pizzas, Dale’s famous popcorn and these…..

Chocolate Truffles!

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Handmade from a wonderful someone who had read the blog and wanted to give to our special day….WOW.  What a blessing! 

{For you locals that were asking, I do have her contact info if you want to order from her for your special someone! The quality of these truffles far surpasses anything you’d find in the store!}

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This next set of photos is from my friend, Heather of Heavinly Blessings.

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Did you see in the earlier photos, that I had laid Scrabble letters all over the food IMG_7314editSIMPLY - Copytable spelling out I Love You and I Do etc? 

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  Well, look what our friend, MaryAnn made for us…having no idea I loved Scrabble letter EVERYTHING!:)

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  This has a very special place in our home.  LOVE it!

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The End. 

No……..

The Beginning.

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~T

Unless otherwise mentioned, photos in this post are from:

 Whitney Hamilton Photography

I Do: Part 2 {The Ceremony}

This day is forever etched in my mind……

Tears.

Laughter. 

Second chances at a beautiful love story.

A pivotal moment on the road to healing.

New promises.

New rings.

Beauty from the devastating Ashes.

  And so begins, our I Do: Part 2.

*A BIG thank you to my blog friend, Mary for making the 
AWESOME vintage banners that you see on the barn doors! 

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  When people first came up to the barn, we had a Blessing Table in lieu of a guest book. 

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 They took a piece of this cute paper my friend, Jamie cut out for me (I paid her in Strawberry pie by the way!) and wrote a blessing on it, then clothes pinned it to the fence. IMG_6080

We had so much fun reading through them later!

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My best friend, Kasey opened the ceremony with these beautiful words.

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Good Evening and Welcome! There is no greater way to start this evening than with prayer! Please bow with me as we invite the Holy Spirit in this place tonight.
525822_437492396275168_1965960705_n She asked our Heavenly Father to have His way and be present in the hearts and minds of our guests, as they surround us while we commit our love and lives in this evening of “I Do …Part 2”.  Then went on to say…….

 As a married women I have gained a greater understanding what it means to be here today.  On this day, you are here to gather around Dale and Tonya, to stand witness to the vows and recommitments that will be spoken, so that when satan attacks and the load looks too heavy to carry….you will walk along side them and remind them of their covenant.

I Cor. 13  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…………Love never fails. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Dale and Tonya choose love and forgiveness.  Today is a pivotal point in their journey to total healing.  What a blessing for Tonya to stay with Dale for all the wonderful things he has done right, instead of leaving him for the thing he did wrong.  I hope you too, can chose that path, because as it says in John 8:36  “Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”  Praise His name!

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Shelby sang me down the aisle to this song by Francesca Battistelli:

I originally got this CD because I LOVED her song “This Is The Stuff”.  I had been praying for the Lord to show me what song I should walk down the aisle to, and as soon as this one came on, I froze at the kitchen sink, mid-dish and began to cry.  I KNEW this was “The One”.

  “Love’s not easy, but its worth it.  Whatcha gonna do when the bottom falls out and your left with nothing but your fear and your doubt to hold you? Who will hold you? 

……..Love can heal you, if you let it inside.  Oh remember now, love’s not easy, but its worth it.”

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Then Dale’s long time friend, Tim spoke:

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  “Dale and Tonya had a fairy tale courtship and wedding. They asked the Author of Love Himself to script them a beautiful love story, and He did. Even in the recent tragedy, the pen never left His mighty hand, and He is still writing that story.
Dale and Tonya went through a violation of a sacred boundary in their marriage. But Hope is not lost—they experienced God’s wonderful gift of restoration, allowing Him to take them through a rebuilding season. They are still growing, learning, and rebuilding. They are letting Him refocus and re-establish the foundation of success at the core of their romantic relationship. Jesus washed them clean and gave them a fresh start. God is in the business of offering beautiful new beginnings, which you are witnessing here today.IMG_6964edit

    Dale, jealously protect every expression of physical intimacy as a sacred treasure for your lifetime love, Tonya. Guard your heart and mind from the devil’s sneaky attacks. Sharpen your sword daily by digging into God’s word. Cloak yourself in the full armor of God, in essence, JESUS, so that everything coming and going from you must first filter through HIM. Today, commit to give her the gift of faithfulness by guarding your heart, eyes, and mind from the temptations of this world.
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Tonya, lavishly love Dale with all you have. God wants to build lovers who love as He does—with abandon. They give everything, with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. They sacrifice and face the most challenging difficulties for the “joy set before them” (Hebrews 12:2). Remember forgiveness is a choice and choose it daily. Trust is hard to build and easy to break, but rely on Jesus to strengthen you and give you peace as you and Dale rebuild your house of trust together each and every day for the rest of your lives.

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A poetic love is rare these days, but it is not out of reach. It will cost you everything, but what you receive in return is worth more than everything you possess now and everything you could possess for a thousand lifetimes.
Remember, God doesn’t need to imitate our culture’s style of love and romance. God has His own version of love—a poetic love that far surpasses anything Hollywood could ever create.
A day like today, marked by poetic love, is a day that shows the nature of God Himself—the original Author of true and lasting love.”

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Next, our Counselor, Dan spoke, then did the Vow and ring ceremony with us:

“I have had a God-ordained privilege of coming to know and grow with Dale and Tonya Ferguson these past few months.  I met two broken hearts many months ago and have watched God continue to hold true to His word.  They came with a sincere desire to repair a shattered dream.  They have both walked through much pain and joy in the process, and I can say with all my heart, that any couple that puts their trust in God as these have, and continue to, they WILL taste success.  I have been encouraged by their commitment to God’s word and His restoration to their lives and marriage.”

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Here are the vows we wrote to each other.  We neither one knew what the other had planned to say:

Dale went first.

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Tonya,
C.S. Lewis once said “A true friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you forget the words.” 

  IMG_7015editTonya, I forgot the words to our song, I lost my way.  I made terrible mistakes and broke your trust and  your heart. But when I turned around, there you where singing my song, standing faithfully by my side just like you promised.

  There is a verse that says, he who is forgiven much, loves much.  Tonya, I have never loved you more than I do now.  Thank you for singing my song when I forgot the words, thank you for loving me at my best and my worst. I will be the man you have always wanted me to be, and I Promise to be faithfully yours, to never let satan sneak up on me again. It is my greatest desire to be faithful to you and to love you. Always seeking to meet your needs, desiring to help you in every way as you heal, listening to you when you want to talk, holding you when you want to cry, wiping away all your tears, encouraging you in your walk with Christ, and standing faithfully by your side from this day forward. IMG_6993edit

   I give you all of me today; a new man, forgiven by grace and made new by the blood of Jesus. You are my best friend, my first love, my soul mate, and you make my world complete. If you let me, I’d like to earn your trust again. Tonya, never stop singing our song.

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Dale,
Today I give you my love without any limits.  I promise to accept the things you believe in, and always try to understand you, to be near you whenever you need my presence, to trust in your love for me and pray it grows stronger every day. I promise to keep no record of wrong, and to remember that our love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures ALL things.
IMG_7025edit  I promise to stand faithfully by your side in this journey called life, to fill your days with sunshine, to comfort you and encourage you, to make you Custard Pie:), to be your best friend and to love you all my life with all my heart, not holding back anything in fear, but moving forward with total abandon, leaping again into the arms of love even though I’m scared at times.IMG_7046
Through this tragedy my love for you has only grown stronger. The Lord has given us a second chance at our beautiful love story, so I come today to give you my heart and my hope for our future together.  I love you more than I ever thought possible, and I promise to never forgot how Jesus gave us Beauty from the Ashes of our lives.
Dale, today I choose forgiveness. I choose you.  I choose us.  I don’t know how to be ME without YOU by my side.  What God has joined together, satan will never separate, because a true love story has no ending, and I’d choose real with you, over a “happily ever after” fairytale…every single time, because I love you!  ……I’m crazy about you.

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There were many tears shed during our vows to each other.  In the car, several days later, Avery pipes up: “I cwied during your wedding, Momma.”  Why, honey?  “I don’t know, but they were happy tears.”

  A few days later I got an email from a friend that said, “I don’t know if you were aware of this, but Destiny cried and cried during the ceremony. Swiping at tears that never stopped flowing.  She finally used the bottom of her dress to wipe her eyes.”

  I, of course, immediately went to her to make sure she was ok.  She said, “Yeah, mom, I am fine. I was just so happy that you guys weren’t getting a divorce and that God was healing your marriage.”

Precious.

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  And now for the ring ceremony:

   Dale and Tonya’s future is a circle unbroken, much like these rings, with which they renew their pledge to one another in an act of never-ending love, faithfulness and devotion to each other.

Do you, Dale, continue to take Tonya, as your loving wife? Will you continue to love her, honor her, comfort and treasure her, be faithful to her and honest with her, forsaking all others for as long as you both shall live?
{I Do}

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Then repeat after me:
Tonya, I give you this ring, as a token of our abiding love and re-commitment to each other. I promise when I look at this ring, to see a new covenant with Christ, and my pledge of faithfulness before God and these witnesses.

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  Do you, Tonya, continue to take Dale, as your loving husband?  Will you continue to love him, honor him, comfort and treasure him, forsaking all others for as long as you both shall live?
{I Do}

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Then repeat after me:
Dale, I give you this ring, as a token of our abiding love and recommitment to each other. I promise when I look at this ring, to see a new covenant with Christ and to remember Beauty from Ashes.

  Our lifetime friends, Lynn and Ann, whom I used to nanny for, came from Oklahoma to sing the duet that they sang at our wedding, “Pour My Love On You” by Phillips, Craig and Dean. 

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During this time, we re-signed our Marriage Covenant, lit our special shattered candle from Joy of Simply Bloom and had a foot washing ceremony.

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  I was so sad to have to take this down last summer, I am so blessed to have it once again grace the walls of our home.

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 IMG_7287edit This candle represents the Lords ability to shine through the shattered pieces of our marriage, creating a beautiful mosaic for HIS glory……

  I was wondering what we were going to do in place of a unity candle, since we were already one.  It was such a cool God-thing, that Joy sent us this just in time for the ceremony!

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  And then, the foot washing. 

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Jesus washed the disciples feet in an act of service to them, showing his servants heart despite their later betrayal of him.  While we washed each others feet, love letters played across the screen:

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Here is Dales letter to me:

Tonya,
Today, I wash your feet as a symbol of my desire to honor you, care for you and be true to you.  This is a symbol of my commitment to die to self as I seek to love you as Christ loved the church. Today, as you trust your heart to me yet again, I wash your feet as a sign of my desire to serve you, cherish you and remain faithfully yours all the days of our lives.

Love, Me

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  My dearest Dale,
I am washing your feet because true love forgives.  When Jesus forgave those closest to him, he served them.  He washed their feet.  This act illustrates to you how deeply I forgive you and how much I love you.
This act of servanthood is a token of my undying love for you and my desire to honor you as the head of our home.
I love you more than I thought possible….
~T

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After closing in prayer, Dan says:

Dale, you may kiss your bride……………

AGAIN.

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Dale got on the mike to thank everyone for coming, and for showing their loving support of us this past year.  Then the kids got to talk too. :)

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  Jamie Grace’s “I Love the Way You Hold Me” cued and down the aisle we went, arm in arm…with the kids walking ahead of us.

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  We were a family again, a whole unit before Christ, and all was as it should be.

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God is so good.

  The rest of evening was spent eating, laughing, hugging and talking to the amazing friends that came to show their support.

  I posted those in the next post, because this one is already LOOOONG!:)

More to come….

~T