Category: Friendship


If you want to start a relationship with someone; whether it be for friendship or romance, how do you begin?

What steps do you take to get to know a person?

wikiHow answered that question with seven steps:

  Ask Questions

Essentially, you need to ask questions to get to know this person better and open ended questions are best, of course, to allow a comfortable flow in conversation.  The point here is to get to know whatever you can about this person.

  Keep Conversations Active

You want to make sure the other person knows you’re interested in what they’re saying.  Pay attention and respond physically by nodding your head, using facial expressions and above all, looking the person in the eye!

  Verbally Respond

Ask more questions if the person is interested in something you know little about.  Keep the conversation going…and to quote wikiHow:

“Convince yourself that you want to know, and soon you will be having a very engaging conversation.”

  Plan Activities

Spend as much time as you can with the person; outings, phone, email, etc…  It will show them that you’re interested and allow you to get to know them better.

  Be Honest

If you are open and honest with the person, it will not only allow them to get to know you better but also allow them to trust you enough to be honest with you as well.

  Be Interesting

Share interesting things about yourself, your family, your background which will encourage them to tell you more interesting things about themselves.

  Bribe

Ok, so it doesn’t actually tell you to bribe them, but flattery does work.  As I told my kids when they were first starting school, if there was someone they wanted to become friends with, compliment them, bring a treat or offer one from your snack or lunch and be sure to share.  (Chocolate works well…)  No one wants to be friends with someone who’s selfish.

These seven steps are good, but I’ve thought of a few more…

  Observe

The best way to get to know someone is to, like #4, spend as much time with them as you can but especially in different situations and with different people.  You can learn a lot from a person just by watching how they act with others; parents, friends, children, teachers, at church, at school, at a restaurant, etc…

  Attitude

They say…”attitude is everything” and when it comes to starting a relationship, I believe that is true.  People are naturally drawn to and want to be around others who are kind, optimistic, fun, energetic, confident and happy.

 

I would love to hear from you!!

Do you have any other other ideas or suggestions?
What, to you, is most important when starting a new relationship?
Please share them here or contact me directly at  ispygod@gmail.com

Thanks!

 

Related posts/articles
How to Get to Know Someone   (http://www.wikihow.com/Main-Page)
How to Get to Know Someone Better   (http://www.ehow.com/ehow-mom/)
How to Get to Know Someone   (http://www.ehow.com/ehow-mom/)
12 Things Happy People do Differently   (http://www.marcandangel.com/)

In chapter 32, Job’s friends have had it with him.  He’s not listening, so they cross their arms and turn their backs in a ridiculous pout.

[cue: silent observer Elihu]

Would love to know who the dude is covering his face…Job? Then who’s the guy next to him?!

Who is this Elihu? Where does he come from? Has he been there the whole time, quietly watching the shenanigans between Job, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar?

So it seems.

I have heard it said that perhaps Elihu is the writer of Job.  Many believe that Moses, Isaiah or Job himself wrote this book, but it seems very plausible that it could be Elihu.  He is never mentioned in the beginning of the book or any time during the conversations between Job and the other three friends, which leads me to believe that he is part of the media…forced to write with an unbiased opinion, just the facts… but things go too far; he can no longer sit idly by so he throws down his iron pen, lead and stone and speaks up.

It urks Elihu that Job, not God, declares he is blameless [Job 32:2] and that the three friends didn’t really have an answer but still condemn Job [Job 32:3].

I am extremely impressed with this quiet friend, although I do have an issue with his view of the age of Job and his friends.  I imagined them, in my mind, to be more mature but certainly not “old”; Job had several grown children by this time so he and his friends were quite possibly (according to our average life span) in their 50’s or 60’s but this punk Elihu, although he had been holding his tongue out of respect,

“Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were years older than he.”   Job 32:4

begins his speech like a typical teenager…

“So Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite spoke out and said, “I am young in years and you are old…”   Job 32:6

I can only imagine his Dad slinking out of the room at this point…

But I love Elihu’s heart and knowledge of God and I love that even in the Old Testament, without Christ having lived and died yet, believers are led by the Spirit…

“But it is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.”   Job 32:8

and Elihu is going to burst if he doesn’t say something.

“I too will answer my share, I also will tell my opinion. For I am full of words; The spirit within me constrains me. Behold, my belly is like unvented wine, Like new wineskins it is about to burst. Let me speak that I may get relief; Let me open my lips and answer.”   Job 32:17-20

This is exactly how it feels to be moved by the Spirit.  He won’t let you sit still and continues to bug, aggravate and grate on you until you are forced to say something.  It’s an interesting and uncomfortable feeling.

The position I used to hold at work allowed me to work closely with the girls at other clinics and offices.  I became fast friends with one gal especially and when I sent a notice out about my change in hours, she asked “Why the change?”

I shared with her my “story” of returning to full-time work when Jax lost his job and now being able to significantly reduce my hours because Jax is employed again.

She responded with “Isn’t it cool how it all works out?” and all I could hear was the Spirit’s leading to give God the glory.

I didn’t.  I only responded in agreement.

Almost instantly I received another email saying how neat it was that everything just always seems to “work out,” and again I heard… “Give God the glory.”

But what seemed to be stronger was the voice convincing me; “She won’t understand.”

I said nothing.

Later that evening while talking with my then nine year old, Sydney, I asked her how she lives for God at school and she broke down in tears.  Her response?  “It’s so hard!!  I’m scared about what other people will think!  I don’t know what to say!”

Doesn’t that sound familiar??

Praise God that He fills us with His Spirit and moves us at times to speak up…it’s up to us to obey.

“… Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”   Psalm 143:10

“You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them…”   Nehemiah 9:20

Lord, forgive me for not acting on Your Spirit’s prompting.  I praise you for not letting me be okay with missing that opportunity.  Please help me continue to feel Your leading and responding to it well.

“It matters not if the world has heard
or approves or understands…
the only applause we’re meant to seek
is that of nail-scarred hands.”
-B.J. Hoff

Related posts:
Desperate pleas. [Job 30-31]

Job tells us how far he has sunk; essentially from above royalty…

“When I went out to the gate of the city… The princes stopped talking And put their hands on their mouths”   Job 29:7, 9

to how he is treated now, the lowest of humankind.

“Fools… were scourged from the land. And now I have become their taunt, I have even become a byword to them. They abhor me and stand aloof from me, And they do not refrain from spitting at my face.”   Job 30:8-10

He begins in chapter 30 and continues in chapter 31, like so many of us, to question God.

Where are you?
Why are you putting me through this?
What have I done?

I get that; the dejection, the loneliness, the agony and despair.  It is so difficult for us to see God’s plan especially in the middle of our struggle.

The other night on Survivor (Season 25 Episode 4), one of the contestants, Russell, displayed Job’s feelings perfectly when his tribe lost the immunity challenge for the fourth straight time.  With each loss, a team member must be voted off and what started out as a tribe of six will be now become, after this loss and tribal council vote, a tribe of two.

Russell loses it.  He smashes a pot ranting and raving;  “Lord I don’t get it!  You gave me another opportunity.  I don’t get what’s happening, Father.  You gotta’ help me understand this.”

He has had it, he’s at point break.  He feels he has done everything God has asked of him; placed his faith in Him, lives his life for Him, does everything to the best of his ability and yet he’s still being punished.

The desperation Russell is feeling echoes Job exactly.  Job lived a blameless life, now he’s human and certainly not perfect, but he has made good choices so why is God punishing him?

“Show me where I have sinned so I can change it,” he says.  “If I did wrong, then punishment is justified,” he admits.  The whole theme of chapter 31 is:

I don’t deserve this!!

I beg to differ.

We are frail, terribly imperfect and sinful creatures, who in every turn naturally choose what’s best for ourselves, and yet God still works through us.

“You owe me nothing, I deserve hell.  You owe me nothing but You’ve given me mercy.”
~Misty Edwards

Are you lifting up desperate pleas?
Are you questioning God and His plan for your life?

We don’t deserve Him or an eternity with Him but He offers it to us anyway.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”   Romans 5:8

Don’t wait another day.  See for yourself what real love looks like.

 

 

Related posts:
You Deserve Hell -jennypowell.org

Keeping Momentum -HopeRainsGrace Blog

I need a new… [Job 1-2]
with friends like these… [Job 4-25 reflections]
Are Job’s Friends All That Bad? [Job 1-2]
Are you a drama queen? [Job 3]
Shut don’t go up… [Job 7]
The beauty of a collector [Job 9]
You know what happens when you ASS-U-ME [Job 1-9 reflections]
Liar, liar, pants on fire! [Job 11]
Look around! [Job 12-13]
Put up your dukes! [Job 15]
Sticks and stones… [Job 18]
I pity the fool… [Job 20-21]
I am with you always. [Job 23-24]
Show Some Compassion! [Job 25-28]
Woe is me! [Job 29]

I love Job and his friends.  They are just so human.

Throughout this entire book, Job has maintained his innocence in deserving the loss and struggles he has endured.  He proclaims the name of God in faith and reverence, remains loyal to Him and a witness to those around him.

Job’s friends continue to stand by him, and although they don’t believe he is innocent, they do continue to try to help him through this…although a sting from a scorpion might be easier to take than the venomous bite of a disapproving and doubting friend.

But what I love about Job is that although throughout the book he maintains his loyalty and declares his confidence in his integrity; in chapters 23 and 24 he waivers.

“Oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat! Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him;”   Job 23:3, 8

“Why are not times of judgment kept by the Almighty, and why do those who know him never see his days?”   Job 24:1

Where are you?  He screams.
Why me?  He yells.

Then Job joins his friends in admonishing the wicked, agreeing that God does prevail; almost as if he is reinforcing his claims of innocence and reminding himself that God is always watching and always just…in His timing.

“Yet God prolongs the life of the mighty by his power; they rise up when they despair of life. He gives them security, and they are supported, and his eyes are upon their ways. They are exalted a little while, and then are gone…”   Job 24:22-24

 

How often do we question God?
How often do we focus on ourselves, listen to those around us and decide God has forgotten us…
That He doesn’t care…
That He has left us alone to fend for ourselves while the wicked prosper?

Remember, as Job does, God’s promises passed down among generations…

“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”   Deuteronomy 31:8

When I was in high school I got my first pair of glasses.  I am near-sighted so I didn’t need glasses until I started driving sophomore year and I still didn’t really think I needed them until I put them on.

As soon as I walked outside wearing my new glasses I realized what I had been missing…

leaves.

Trees at a distance had been wildly waving strong outstretched arms covered in gorgeous green shimmery leaves and I never noticed.  I had always recognized them as a blur of movement until I put on my glasses and realized their individual leaves could be seen from miles away… and it was beautiful.

Isn’t that how we should act as Christians?  Wildly waving our arms, living in a way that people see Christ in us, being that unavoidable tree off in the distance…

but so many people call themselves Christians and we can’t even tell!

“You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?”   Matthew 7:16

“Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.”   Proverbs 20:11

A friend of mine just lost her job; a job held for over 16 years, a job desperately needed and lost over a false accusation…

She plead her case, explained her innocence and waited for a response.

The moment came when she realized any additional arguing was futile and she needed to face this unknown, fear-filled path.  She graciously accepted the news by saying…

I am a Christian and I know that this is obviously God’s will for my life, so I will accept it and trust Him.

In that moment of great heartbreak and uncertainty, my friend chose to exude Christ.  She wildly waved lush emerald growth for all to see and I can only imagine the look on her manager’s face.

“The word Christian is not one that the early believers chose to call themselves. It was a title they were given by people who observed their lifestyle. They were recognized as those who followed the teachings of Christ.”   ~ Gary Chapman

How do you respond when you are faced with hardship?
Do people see Christ when they look at you?

Would you be labeled a Christian?

In chapter 18 Bildad joins Eliphaz in attacking Job’s character.  They throw sticks; calling him wicked and deserved of his suffering.  Job retaliates tossing stones; telling them they are terrible comforters, terrible friends.

Job’s friends become defensive and angry.  Feelings are hurt adding more fuel to an already smoldering pile of rock and wood.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!”
Ooooh, I remember saying that phrase.

Even now it brings back memories of times when my feelings were hurt because of what somebody said, and to get back at them I would scream that phrase.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: …strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy… I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”   Galatians 5:19-21

The heat of my anger would boil up beginning at my toes running swiftly to my belly then neck and like a bottle shaken I would explode without warning, hurling insults and trying to find words that cut and crush.

Words hurt.  They stick much longer than a bruise and I’m afraid I’m queen of hurting people with my words…especially my family.

As a kid I threw stick and stone words haphazardly hoping they would hit their target.  It was usually back at the mean kid who told me I was fat or ugly.  They said something that cut and I wanted to cut them back, but it’s hard to hurt someone you don’t really know.

Friends and family are much easier targets.  We know the most about them and what makes them tick; their dreams, their desires, what they love, what they treasure…we know what will hurt them to the core and use it as ammunition.

As an adult; as a wife and mom, I am more able to reign in my toss.  I am able to, more subtly, spear those sticks and force those stones in with more precision.

Instead of hurling erratic insults, I catapult blame and guilt with amazing accuracy directly at the heart.  I lash out when I’m not being heard or when I feel unappreciated.  I want them to hurt the way I’m hurting.  I want to get back at them and so I throw sticks and stones at the people I love the most in this world!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”   Galatians 5:22-23

I have often said that I am not a fruit bearing tree.  I don’t display the beautiful fruit that I see in people around me.  I have thrown so many sticks and stones that my harvest is damaged.

I praise God that He’s not done with me yet.  He has placed amazing women in my life who do portray the fruit of the Spirit.  They exude the kindness, patience and gentleness that I lack, providing a beautiful picture of how a Godly wife, mother and friend is supposed to act.  I praise God for each of those precious gems in my life and for the example He has set before me to learn from.

“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”   Galatians 5:24-26

How’s your harvest?

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”   John 15:5

 

 

Ladieeeees aaaaand gentlemen!

Welcome to the main event; the Suffering Weight Boxing championships!

In the red corner weighing 142 pounds, previously wealthy land and livestock owner and former father of ten.  The current Suffering Weight Boxing Champion, from right here in the land of Uz, please welcome Joooooooooooob!

His opponent in the blue corner weighting 143 pounds, one of three pitiful friends of Job.  The chief “comforter” from Teman, please welcome Eliphaaaaaaaaz!

Are you ready to rumblllllllllllllle?

Ding.
Ding.
Ding.

Chapter 15.  Round 2.

Eliphaz starts in again with his accusations, echoing the accusations he brought to the ring in chapter 4.  He didn’t bring any new moves or new punches.  He was a friend coming to Job armed with gloves of blame and mistrust.

Job returns the blows of condemnation from Eliphaz with strikes of emotion and anger.  Calling his friends, and rightly so, “worthless physicians” [Job 13:4] and “miserable comforters.” [Job 16:2]

I can relate to Job’s friends.  I am a miserable comforter.

A dear friend of mine has been recently diagnosed with an aggressive, stage 2 possibly stage 3, form of breast cancer.

When I heard of her diagnosis, I froze.

I longed to go to her but failed.  I wanted to support her but collapsed.  I desired to encourage her but gave up.  I ached to be there for her but fell short.  I had no words and couldn’t process the news, so I didn’t.

I didn’t go to her.  I didn’t cry with her.  I didn’t comfort her.

I didn’t.

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us… if it is encouraging, let him encourage…”   Romans 12:4-6, 8 (niv)

I, like Job’s friends, just shook my head.

Job’s friends, typical guys, wanted to fix things.  They offered suggestions and accusations when all Job wanted was support, encouragement, a strong shoulder and an open ear.

“But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief.”   Job 16:5 (nlt)

Sometimes there aren’t words.

I don’t have the words to comfort my friend, because I have never been in her shoes.  I don’t know what she’s going through so I can’t possibly tell her so, but I can sit quietly, wrap her in silence and learn from her.

Sometimes we aren’t supposed to fix things.

I can’t give my friend the medicine she needs or take the pain from her, but I can offer my time, my hugs, my tears, my prayers and my love.

“A friend loves at all times…”   Proverbs 17:17

What kind of friend are you?

 

As I continue reading the counsel of Job’s friends in chapter 11, I realize I could have clumped all of their responses together.

[cue: Zophar enters scowling, joining finger pointing already in progress]

Zophar lets Job have it.  “Liar, liar pants on fire!”  He practically sings as he echoes the words of Eliphaz and Bildad, encouraging Job to fess up.  [Job 11:4-5]

Zophar even goes as far to say that because of Job’s guilt, he actually deserves more punishment than what he has been given already! [Job 11:6]

The commentary in my Bible describes Zophar:

Zophar is the third of Job’s friends to speak, and the least courteous.  Full of anger, he lashed out at Job… his speech was by far the most arrogant.  Zophar has an answer for everything; he was totally insensitive to Job’s unique situation.

Which of course, may be entirely true… however, you know what it’s like when you and a couple buddies decide to approach a friend who is doing something you think is wrong.

The first guy approaches the subject carefully and gently but the friend gets upset and denies any problem. Then the second guy joins the discussion, a little more forcefully to drive home your collective concern for your friend, and again the friend denies any wrong-doing and tempers start to flare.

You’ve been sitting idly by watching the whole thing and you’re done with the shenanigans.  Your friend is not getting it so you come in guns-a-blazing to drive the point home.

That’s Zophar.

He and his friends are having an intervention.  Their view; Job is hiding something, he has sin in his life he’s not confessing and they are trying to help.

Isn’t that what an accountability partner is supposed to do?  Granted, not to approach with a baseball bat; there is something to be said for tact.

Listen and love first…

Smack down later.

But to have a person who isn’t afraid to tell us we have a booger hanging from our nose or that our skirt is tucked into our underwear.  A person who knows us well enough to give us a swift kick in the pants when we make excuses for not attending church or to call us out when we start eating chocolate cake every night for dinner.  Someone who asks us, out of the blue, if we’re reading our Bible or spending time with God in prayer.

Although, I’m not entirely seeing the problem with that cake one.

“… For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.'”   Romans 14:10-11

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak”   Mathew 12:36

We are to make good choices because…

“… each of us will give an account of himself to God.”   Romans 14:12

We are to help our friends make good choices because …

“… each of us will give an account of himself to God.”   Romans 14:12

Anyone see a recurring theme here?!!

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a few good men who had our back?  Who told us the truth and wanted us to be the best we can be in God’s eyes?

Ok then, let’s get started.

How are you doing?
Are you reading your Bible?
Are you spending time with your Father?

Do you know Him?

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”   Jeremiah 33:3

“Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.”   Isaiah 55:6

Job is sort of a drama queen.

What I mean by that is for someone who is doing all the right things because God is quite pleased with him [Job 1:8, Job 2:3], and when he loses his cattle, his children, is covered with boils and his wife tells him to “curse God and die,” [Job 2:9]

She actually says that!  Boy, I would not want to answer to God for saying that!  Whew.

“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne… And the dead were judged …according to what they had done.”   Revelation 20:12

But I digress, back to Job.  When all of this happens in his life, Job curses his birth.  He rants about how he wishes he wasn’t born, he curses the day his mother got pregnant and wishes he would have been stillborn. [Job 3]

That gets old.  Listening to someone complain about how they wish they wouldn’t have been born, that they wish God would just crush them.

I have friends who are Christians; they make good choices, go to church and raise their children to love the Lord.  But when the going gets tough they bail.  They blame God and curse the day they were born.  They whine and cry about how hard things are and that it’s just not fair.

But what is fair?

Should a robber be pardoned because the punishment is to pay with their time for what they’ve taken?  Should murderers receive amnesty because the punishment for their crimes is death?

No, of course not.  They deserve the punishment because they did the crime.

I have a friend who lived a life of terrible abuse.  He suffered both physically and mentally, enduring terrible pain and shameful ridicule.  His body revealed the physical torment he endured and people still talk about the heartache and loneliness he experienced.

I can’t imagine living his life or feeling the hate he experienced.  The struggle he lived was intense and unimaginable.  I know he wished he didn’t have to live it, wished his life was different and even asked God to take it away… but God didn’t.

My friend died.

Was it fair?  By our standards no, but God had a plan.  God knew that my friend had to endure this hardship in his life to be an example to others and for God’s ultimate plan for good.

My friend lived a perfect life and died because I deserved it, not him.

Are the struggles we experience fair?  In our minds, no.  But was it fair for Jesus to experience the heartache and pain He lived through?

And He did it willingly.

He did it for you.

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”   1 John 4:10

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”   John 3:16

I’m reading slowly through the book of Job.  I have read the Bible all the way through a couple times now in my life [insert happy dance here]

but I have never done an in-depth study of Job.

I’ve always liked Job.

He puts things into perspective when I think I’m having a bad day.  I mean, the poor guy!  All within six verses, a matter of exactly 27 seconds of reading, announcements that come within a period of what could be only minutes of each other; he loses his livelihood and his family.  [Job 1:14-19]

In chapter two, Job is plagued with “loathsome sores” and the one person who is supposed to stand by his side “in sickness and in health” turns against him.  [Job 2:7-9]

Then there are Job’s friends…
Eliphaz the Temanite
Bildad the Shuhite
Zophar the Naamathite

Now I’m only in chapter six so I have only started reading in-depth the counsel of Job’s friends, more specifically Eliphaz who tries to offer words of help and encouragement by suggesting the reason he thinks Job is suffering.

But from what I’ve read so far, Eliphaz is only doing what we all do for our own friends.  We offer our best guess.  Our assumption of what might be happening.  We try to give our best counsel based on things we have experienced ourselves and what might apply to our friend.

I hear all the time how Job’s friends steer him wrong; they are insensitive and give horrible counsel.  Perhaps there will be much more to learn as I continue my study through Job, but as of right now they seem human to me.  They just seem like good guys coming to comfort and help their friend.

What kind of friend are you?

Please take a few minutes to take my friendship survey!  The results will help me see what qualities we find most important in a good friend and how many of us consider ourselves friend savvy.

Click here to take the survey!

Thank you so much for your help!!

 

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