{Guest Post} God’s Love: The Greatest Gift of All

Mary Kate contacted me and asked if she could share a Christ-based object lesson with you all today. I thought that was a fantastic idea!  Kids love object lessons, and this one would be great to do with the cousins at Christmas, in Kids Church, or a Sunday School setting.

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Mary Kate writes at Christianity Cove, please make her feel welcome here at 4 little Fergusons! 🙂
Hugs, T

gods love the greatest gift

God’s Love – The Greatest Gift Of All

Jesus’ life certainly had humble beginnings. It’s important during the holidays to portray greatness, not in the amount of gifts we get, but in allowing God’s love to fill us, like it filled Jesus throughout his birth, life and death on the cross.

Materials

  • Balloon, not blown up (but you can stretch it out by blowing once)
  • A bouncy ball, the size of a volley ball (easily purchased at the supermarket—and you can put it under the tree for your own child!)
  • A safety pin

Preparation

Hide the bouncy ball.

Lesson

Hold up the un-blown balloon.

Jesus’ life started very humbly. You would not have known him from anybody else. In fact, you might have thought he was less fortunate than others.

Shake the balloon a little and let it wilt over your hand.

He was born in a manger. He had no clothes. His parents were essentially homeless, having left Nazareth to go to some census. Mary and Joseph were working class. They were often sweaty and grimy and worried about the economy. Why do you think God chose people like this to bear his only son?

Because God doesn’t care about things like riches or prestige. He looks at people’s hearts.

Mary and Joseph had very good hearts. If Jesus had anything in his favor, coming into this world as a baby, that was it.

Blow into the balloon. Depending on its size, blow a little or a lot. After nine blows, you want it close to its full size without popping. Pinch it off.

Looks can be deceiving. The baby Jesus actually had a lot going for him. In that region, there were shepherds watching over their flocks by night. And an angel of the lord appeared to them and said, “Do not be afraid. For lo, I bring you tidings of incredible joy. For born to you this night, in the City of David, is a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Blow into the balloon. Pinch it off.

And suddenly appeared a multitude of angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest!”

Blow into the balloon. Pinch it off.

The shepherds came to see this miracle baby. And coming from afar were three Wise Men, bearing gifts of gold, frank incense and myrrh. They were following a star that shown brightly over Bethlehem.

Blow into the balloon. Pinch it off.

And Joseph was warned in a dream that King Herod might try to kill Jesus, knowing he was the Messiah. And the family escaped to Egypt.

Blow into the balloon. Pinch it off.

And when they returned, the boy was raised humbly, in Nazareth, a working class town containing nobody special.

Blow into the balloon. Pinch it off.

Except one. The king of kings. But you wouldn’t know it to look at him. Nobody knew! Not until he started performing miracles as a grown man. And he healed the blind and the sick.

Blow into the balloon. Pinch it off.

And he walked on water and calmed a storm.

Blow into the balloon. Pinch it off.

And he fed 5,000 in one place and 2,000 in another on a couple loaves and some fish.

Blow into the balloon. Pinch it off.

You would think this man would now be so loved and so famous. His own disciples thought he was going to ascend the throne in Jerusalem and they would be…

Tie a knot in the balloon and hold it up.

princes and royalty, who would serve out a royal kingship forever! What started with a humble quiet Christmas should have ended with bigness and greatness. But lots of men were jealous of Jesus. They wanted to take his powers away. They wanted to…

Pick up the pin, stick it in the balloon, and break it.

kill him. And they did.

Hold up the broken balloon.

A humble life starts on Christmas and ends on Good Friday, 33 years later.

Lay the balloon down with some sadness.

Or does it? We’re here today and we celebrate Christmas every year in hope. We know that humble beginnings make for great endings, no matter what. We’re waiting for Jesus to come back. Only this time, He’ll be in a different form…

Bring out the bouncy ball.

Matthew 24:42 says, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”

Bounce it a couple times.

Let’s remember that the best gift we get on Christmas is a chance to be humble, to be like Jesus, who is coming back great…and who will make us great too! We just have to believe.

Have the students form a circle and bounce the ball to each other, thanking God for something “simple” with each bounce.

  If you enjoyed this lesson, be sure to check out my Ultimate Mom Challenge Christian Parenting Cheat Sheets! It’s an extensive guide of challenges designed to help your family put Christ and His love and joy back into various holidays throughout the year!

Mary Kate Warner

Mary-Kate is a regular blogger at Christianity Cove. You can often find her writing about Christian Motherhood, Homeschool Teaching, Bible Study and Sunday School Activities, Faith and inspiring children to love God.

Going Green With Shaklee WINNERS!

Congrats to the 25 of you that were selected as winners of the Basic H2 samples from Katie!  If you missed last weeks review post about these amazing “green” products for your home and kitchen, Going Green with Shaklee, then click the title and get caught up!

The rest of you can head on over to Katie’s blog to see if you won.  Katie-Shaklee.jpg

Eeek! So exciting! 

Hugs, T

Going Green With Shaklee: Give Away!

  I have been using Shaklee products my whole life, and I adore their products and what they stand for!  When I first got married, I tried some of the store cleaning products, and about fell over and the HORRIBLE strong cleaning smell!  NOW I understood why my mom used Shaklee for everything!  It IS possible to get your home sparkling clean without all those poisonous chemicals and strong smells!
  My favorite Shaklee product is Basic H, now called Basic H2.  Let me tell you something. I have been married nearly 12 years, and I have purchased this product TWICE even though I use it everyday, multiple times a day.

  How is this possible?

  Because you use so little of the concentrate, filling the rest of the bottle with water!  One 16 oz. bottle of Basic H2 diluted per label directions makes 214 bottles (28 oz.) of ready-to-use all-purpose cleaner.

 What do I use it for?

Everything!

  You can clean windows with it, get those nasty sticky stickers off the back of your new plates, cut grease from working with butter, bacon pans, remove wallpaper, get crayon off your paint, and my favorite use, wash my veggies and fruits in it.  Just one squirt of very diluted Basic H2 in my small sink of water, goes a long way. 

 

  NOW, this is NOT Shaklee Scientist approved, so use this at your own risk.  But just know, that ever since I was a little girl, we have washed our veggies in very diluted Basic H in a sinkful of water, rinsing well afterwards.  You know how grapes are always white and yucky even after a good rinse?

  After a Basic H wash and rinse, they will stay shiny and pure in color!  

  In the photo below, I washed the left in Basic H water and the right in regular: grapes

  When our bag of Baby Carrots began to turn white and dry, I simply fill the bag with cold water and a squirt of diluted Basic H2 and let them soak, then rinse well before eating.  They are back to bright orange in no time! That is because Basic H is wetter than water and helps hydrate.

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I soak lettuce leaves, celery stalks, and broccoli heads in my small sink full of cold water.  Basic H helps them maintain their crisp and color for a week longer than unwashed, after a good soak and drain. 

  *Disclaimer:  Again, I will tell you, Shaklee does not sell Basic H for this purpose, but at our house, its my go to for fruit and veggie cleaners, just use the diluted in a sink full of water, rinse and know your veggies will be crisp and clean.  My mom did this when we were growing up, still does today, 32 years later with no ill effects.  Use your discretion, ok?  And be nice to Shaklee, we love them! 🙂

 I haven’t ever told you about Shaklee on this blog, so I jumped at the opportunity when it arose.  My friend, Katie Marcum, is just starting out her Shaklee business.  She found out about the products while searching for a safe disinfectant for her breast pump.  Basic G, my second favorite product, was the answer.

This photo from the Shaklee site, since I don’t have a big bottle to show you.

  Basic G kills bacteria, fungus and viruses.  Used as directed, Basic G tackles over 40 of these pesky microbes, including animal viruses!!! This makes it an excellent choice for kitchen, bathroom and pet areas of your home.

  This bottle will last you FOREVER, as 1 quart makes up to 64 gallons of spray!  Put one under every sink!!!! 

   I use it anytime I work with raw meat, used to wash down highchair trays with it daily and anytime Sophie Tinkles the dog lives up to her name, we use it on the carpet.  It’s also great for toilets and potty training whoopsies, so I keep a spray bottle in the laundry room, kitchen and every bathroom.

  Even though I grew up with my mom using these products, I have never purchased a kit before.  Thanks to Katie, I was able to try out Shaklee’s Get Clean Kit, and am excited to tell you about my findings!

From Shaklee’s site The Get Clean Kitchen Mini Kit contains:

  • Hand Dish Wash Liquid Concentrate (16 fl. oz)
  • Dish Washer Automatic Concentrate (32 oz)
  • Dish Washer Automatic Dispenser (empty)
  • Hand Wash Concentrate (32 fl. oz)
  • Hand Wash Dispenser

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Dish Wash Concentrate Size: 16 oz.

  If we hesitate to mention that fresh-scented Dish Wash is soft on hands and the earth, it’s only because you might think it’s soft on grease. But trust us. You need only a few drops to tackle a pile of greasy dinner aftermath. Really. Just a few. This is an exercise in restraint.

  • Helps loosen baked-on foods so you can use less elbow grease.
  • Mild on your hands – special formula won’t remove natural oils in your skin, giving you soft hands as well as sparkling dishes.
  • Maximum long-lasting suds.
  • Leaves your dishes sparkling clean.
  • Great camping choice – biodegradable surfactants and safe for use outdoors in warm or cold water.

HAND WASH CONCENTRATE  Size: 32 oz.

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“Go wash your hands.”  This super mild, sudsy wash makes it so nice to do as you’ve always been told. It has wheat germ oil and algae extract to moisturize; soy protein to condition; aloe, marshmallow and linden flower extracts to soothe; and rosemary and arnica extracts to energize. So now it’s more like, “Go take your hands to the spa.”

DISH WASHER AUTOMATIC CONCENTRATE Size: 2 lb.

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With Dish Wash Automatic Concentrate you’ll never have to wash a dish before you put it in the dishwasher or use earth-adverse chemicals to get your dishes clean. This patented, super-concentrated formula lets you use just a little for a whole load of sparkling dishes.

  • The deep, enzyme-activated cleaning power gently removes tough stains, leaving dishes and glasses sparkling clean.
  • Super concentrated – cleans 48 loads – just 2 teaspoons in each dispenser cup.
  • No pre-rinsing needed – Removes dried on food and tough stains, so they don’t get stuck on.
  • Dissolves quickly and completely, getting to work straight away.
  • Absolutely no chlorine and no fragrances, which can pollute the air that you breathe.
  • Comes in a handy resealable pouch with measuring scoop and a bottle for easy pouring if you’d prefer that route

And Katie was also sweet enough to bring me:

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SCOUR OFF™ HEAVY DUTY PASTE  Size: 9 oz.
Here’s an exclusive scouring cleanser that sets a new standard. It’s a paste, so it doesn’t form dust clouds. It cleans stuck-on messes. It even cleans burnt-on food in your oven. And it doesn’t burn off your nose hairs in the process.

  • Natural ingredients remove the toughest dried-on splatters and spills, burned-on grease, baked-on food, and sticky messes without hazardous chemicals or toxic fumes.
  • Scour Off is made from natural mineral abrasives and biodegradable cleaning agents. It does not contain chlorine, bleach, or dye.
  • Scour Off gently removes stains other cleansers can’t and is great for cleaning tubs, ovens, sinks, and tiles.
  • It will even remove rust, and is great for cleaning these surfaces: copper, grout, cement, ceramic, and imitation marble.
  • Wide-mouth jar makes it easy to use.

  Here is Katie to tell you more about the Shaklee Company:

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Hi I’m Katie!

  I first want to thank Tonya for sharing these Shaklee products with you. Tonya is a dear friend of mine and truly an inspiration to many.

  I was actually first introduced to Shaklee through Tonya. She told me that there is an all natural cleaner and sanitizer that she uses. The thought of all natural anything intrigued me. Since having my second child a year and a half ago, I have developed a passion to live a life that is as natural and chemical free as possible.

  After using Basic H2 and Basic G (the same bottles, mind you) for over a year, I started doing a little more research on Shaklee as a company. I was completely blown away that this company has been around for almost 60 years and I’m just now hearing about them! Shaklee is completely debt free, but what’s more important is they have a 0 carbon footprint. That means that not only am I making my home healthier, I am also leaving behind a healthier planet for my children. With every Get Clean Kit that is sold, Shaklee plants 5 trees. WOW!

Tonya showed you just a few things from the Get Clean line of household cleaners. Not only are there products that you can use to clean your kitchen, you can also use Shaklee to clean your bathrooms and do your laundry with very concentrated amounts of a very safe product for your family!

  Shaklee was founded on the household cleaners, but that is not all that Shaklee has to offer. Nutrition is very important in our society. Its takes more than just a clean home to develop a clean planet. Our country is over fed and under nourished. Shaklee knows that, so they have developed a nutrition line that is completely astonishing.

  It is also common knowledge that our country is overweight. Aside from the Healthy Nutrition line, Shaklee also has a weight loss program called Shaklee 180. When you team 180 with the supplements available in the Healthy Nutrition line, you’ll learn how to turn your life around and stop dieting!

Oh and the Pomegranate Energizing Tea is TO DIE FOR!

Ok, now we have your house clean, and your body is getting healthier with the supplements and the 180. There is one thing left to tackle:

Your skin!

Shaklee also offers a full skin care line, including toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo!

With Shaklee I am able to still work full-time (because I want to), be a mom to my boys, and a wife to my husband, all while making long-term residual income as I share my passion of living a cleaner life with other families.

Are you looking to stay home or supplement your income?  Would you consider joining me on this adventure?

Maybe you are just ready to Go Green and loose the household chemicals.

If you would like to purchase a Get Clean Kit for your home, please click on any of the above links to be taken to my Shaklee site.  OR, leave your email address in the comments section and I would be glad to answer any questions you have about these wonderful products!
I also have a new blog, come on over!

~Katie Marcum

Katie Shaklee

 

  Thank you, Katie for sharing with us today about Going Green with Shaklee!  I bet you guys can’t wait to get your hands on some product.    

  That is why Katie so sweetly offered to send TWENTY FIVE of you, Basic H2 samples ! 

{Squeeeeeeeeeeee!}

  Contest is closed.

We will have a blog post Monday the 16th, announcing 25 winners. 

  Shaklee was a “green company” before it was cool to “Be Green”…and I am proud to be sharing their products with you today!!!!

  Go Green & Go Home, with Shaklee!  🙂

Now, head on over to Katie’s blog to enter to WIN!!!!!  {Contest is closed, but head on over and Katie would love to share more with you about Shaklee’s great products…..}

Hugs, T

All commercial images in this post come from Shaklee’s official website, and are not affiliated with Tonya, Katie, or the 4 little Ferguson website.

 

Being A 5 Loaves & 2 Fishes Mom

 John 6:5-13

Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?”  He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!”  Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”  “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.)  Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted.  After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.

5 loaves and 2 fish

Have you ever stopped and thought about the Mom in the above story?

I think we can learn a lot from her.

I think it’s time we stop worrying about using perfect moments to teach our kids about God, and start using those God-designed moments perfectly, according to His plan.

To equip our kids each day before they leave our home, and let God do the rest.    

  So, what IS a 5 Loaves & 2 Fish Mom?  

Come on over to Marathon Mom and find out…

~T

Healthy Habits at Marathon Mom

 Talking about Healthy Habits this month at Marathon Mom……

Guess what I felt led to share?

Yup, Dear Mom on the iPhone!

iPhone

Bad phone habits plague many a home and dinner table, and not just mom, dad and children, too.  It is my hope that this message, will be received as the Check Point it is.  And if just one person today, sets their phone aside, and instead engages with their family, then its mission has been accomplished.

Come see me!

Hugs, T

Organizing Chaos

  You know I am a Super OCD Pillow Fluffin’ Fool, right?!  I probably fix my pillows like 15 times a day.  The kids have “Clean Up Time” at least 3 times a day, because I think they play better when it’s not messy.
I can’t stand clutter, and I am grumpy if I am not organized, and everything has its own space.

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  HOWEVER, I HAVE 4 CHILDREN AND A HUSBAND, my life no longer stays tidy!

  So, I have come up with a method to Organize my Chaos…………

  Come on over to Marathon Mom to see me!  

  ~T

Mary & Martha

You are invited to a Mary & Martha Party!

Come on in………………..

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  Ok, ok you are right, my house isn’t big enough and you are all too far away!
{If you are a local and want to come, please message me, I’d love to have you!!!!  Tomorrow night at 7 at my house…}

  However, I am still so excited to introduce you to…..The Mary & Martha Company!

  I will be opening my home tomorrow night to neighbors and friends for a fresh ground coffee and dessert bar, and a whole lot of fun looking at verse covered, Christ-centered decor, dishes, trays & jewelry! Bags and pillows, too. 

  My friend Stephanie is here today to tell you more about this great Christ-Centered Company….

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  Hi everyone!! I feel like I am posting on a celebrity’s blog—know what I mean? Wow! Thank you, Tonya!

   Let me first start off by saying, I have been reading Tonya’s blog for a couple of years now and look forward to her posts everyday. Sometimes, when you read blogs, it feels like you’ve known someone forever. For instance, I work in the same town Tonya lives in, so it should not shock me if I see her and her four precious babies shopping at Hobby Lobby. Now, all instincts told me to run up to her and act like we were old friends. But, she had NO IDEA who I was at the time. I am blessed to say that through different circumstances, we have met and I now consider her a “real” life friend of mine!

  I am also blessed to be able to share with you all on this blog about my Mary & Martha business. About a year and a half ago, I decided to become a consultant with Blessings Unlimited—a home based party business of Dayspring. I will be the first to tell you, I am NOT a salesperson. In fact, I would consider my first job as a wife and mom. THEN, I am a labor and delivery nurse, which has brought me so much joy. But, for some reason I was continually drawn to this business called Blessings Unlimited. Although I had never heard anything about it, except through the Dayspring website. Through prayer, discernment, and many talks with my husband, I decided to take a leap of faith and become a consultant. Not knowing what that would look like for me, I thought– at least I can purchase really beautiful gifts for my friends and family with God’s word woven throughout. The start up cost was not a risk and I could make this be whatever I wanted it to be.

  God had other plans for me as I attended their National conference just weeks after joining. I started to market the products and having people in my home for open houses and introductory gatherings for Blessings Unlimited. People LOVED the products as much as I did! And from there on, it has become a big part of my life.

  Blessings Unlimited changed its name to Mary & Martha in July. Of course, just as any time something changes, it took some getting used to. Like maybe about 10 minutes for me! I sat there and listened to the vision and was captivated. We still had our wonderful scripture based products—that would not change. But our mission and our vision suddenly became more clear. Meaningful entertaining…made simple.

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  It is time to bring people back into our homes without feeling like it has to be “perfect”. Or that you have to serve the “right” things. It is all about the “people” in your home. I just love that.

  Mary & Martha is about “LIVING in the &”. It’s about loving God & loving others. It’s about your business & your ministry. It’s being Mary “&” it’s being Martha. Never have I loved that little ampersand so much. It just makes so much sense to me.Fotor06051846301

  The products speak for themselves. They are beautiful and meaningful and laced with the word of God. I love knowing that with each gathering I am bringing the word of God into the lives and homes of many women. And I am praying with our new Mary & Martha vision, that we are equipping women to bring others into their homes. To not worry about making it “perfect”—but rather embracing the “people” in it.

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  From what I know of Tonya, she is doing this so well. When I came back from our National Conference, she was one of the first people I contacted. And now, she is sharing this with all of YOU! I know there are many of you who are unable to just come hang out around Tonya’s kitchen table and taste her yummy desserts (I personally can not wait for that part!). But hopefully this gives you a bit of an idea of what Mary & Martha is all about.

  Is God tugging at your heart to share a combined business and ministry? I would love to talk with you! Are you wishing you could join other friends of Tonya in a shopping experience of bringing God’s word into your homes?

  You are in luck!!

  We have set up an online party just for you!!!!

Just follow this link and your order will be counted towards Tonya’s gathering.

  Wanting to host a Mary & Martha gathering yourself? I can help you find a consultant in your area.

  Thank you, Tonya, for the opportunity to share with so many…..

Here’s to living in the “&”!!

Stephanie Kauffman, Mary & Martha Independent Consultant

“Our motivation is ministry, our method is business, our message is Jesus.”

—James Barnett, President of Dayspring.

Thinking Outside the Lunch Box at Marathon Mom

 

  It’s time to think outside the Lunch Box!  Whether you are planning to pack a sack lunch every day, feed your Homeschool family, or just need something delicious for your Preschool age kids, THIS is the post for you!

Come on over to see me at Marathon Mom today!

~T

Sex God’s Way Resource List

Sex Resources

Resources on Waiting

Boundaries in Dating by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy

When Dreams Come True: A Love Story Only God Could Write by Eric and Leslie Ludy

I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris

Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship by Joshua Harris

Sex: It’s Worth Waiting For by Greg Speck

Fiction reading for Young Girls About Saving Themselves For Marriage:

Christy Miller Series by Robin Jones Gunn
The Christy Miller Collection, Volume 1
The Christy Miller Collection, Vol. 2
The Christy Miller Collection, Vol. 3
The Christy Miller Collection, Vol. 4

Resources on Intimacy In Marriage

XES: Why Church Girls Tend To Get It Backwards by Joy McMillan

The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex by Sheila Wray Gregoire

31 Days to Great Sex An E-book by Sheila Wray Gregoire

Honey, I Don’t Have A Headache Tonight:Help for Women Who Want to Feel More In the Mood
Audio Download by Shelia Wary Gregoire

  Sheila also has a fantastic blog covering Intimacy and Marriage called: To Love, Honor and Vacuum.  Go check it out, you are sure to be blessed!

Hot Chocolate for Couples: Practical Ways to Sweeten Your Love Life by Cindy Siglar Dagnan

Romancing Your Husband: Enjoying a Passionate Life Together
Romancing Your Wife: A Little Effort Can Spice Up Your Marriage

by Debra White Smith

Resources For Rebuilding After Betrayal

A Way of Escape: Freedom from Sexual Strongholds by Neil Anderson

Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time
Every Man’s Marriage: An Every Man’s Guide to Winning the Heart of a Woman 
Every Young Man’s Battle: Strategies for Victory in the Real World of Sexual Temptation
by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker

  A HUGE list of resources can be found here, at the bottom of the Surviving Infidelity Page!

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     Thanks for sticking with us for this series on Sex God’s Way! Did you survive the series without too much blushing? Did God move and speak to your heart about something you can give to Him? 

Get some of these resources and be open to learning and hearing from the Giver of all Great Things!

  It has been a joy and honor to share our hearts with you on this blessing and gift for Married Couples to enjoy!

Oh, and has it been 72 hours yet!?!?!?!?!!   Winking smile

~Angela from My Heart Ministry and Tonya from 4 little Fergusons

  Don’t miss this comment-spurred bonus post:  “Sexual Addiction: Road Block To Intimacy”