Thirsty For Christ Thursday · TTC Tuesday · Uncategorized

Our First Christian Passover Meal

Tuesday

In the midst of this round of IVF, I think I speak for both Craig and myself when I say we have been in prayer around the clock. So many times when we pray, any of us, we are so focused on one thing, in one neat and tiny box, in exactly the way we ‘imagine’ it to arrive. Fortunately, our God doesn’t always stay within our human confines for Him, and He can use our intimate quiet moments of prayer to bring something to our hearts we didn’t know was even relevant to what we were asking.

One thing the Lord has placed on our hearts in a huge way this year has been creating our own family traditions. Genesis 2:24 instructs married couples to leave their parents and cleave to one another. This doesn’t mean to abandon your families or set off on a journey through the desert alone like the Lone Ranger. No, it means that marriage is special. Sacred. It means that we operate as a unit of one with our spouse. We make all decisions together. We rely on one another for support and love. We don’t look elsewhere for that which we should be providing each other. The priest who led us in our pre-marital counseling gave us the best advice of all: Don’t bring friends and parents into your relationships. If there is a problem beyond what you can handle with your spouse, seek spiritual guidance – from your priest, pastor, Christian counselor and from the Lord.

Honestly, that has been some of the best ever advice, and through many trials and tribulations, Craig and I have come through – stronger, wiser, closer and better equipped for ‘what’s next’. And what the Lord has revealed over the past several months has even shed some extra light on our move to Maine…

As a childless married couple, we are often ‘grouped in at the kids’ table’ for lack of a better analogy. With no children in tow, it’s easy to consider us as a temporary situation or just ‘off playing house way out in Maine’ – I imagine it’s a subconscious act, but it’s present nonetheless.

This year, we had the opportunity to spend an incredibly brief 36 hours together over Christmas, and unlike other years, in which we have scrambled and scraped to be in one place or another to celebrate the holiday with one of our extended families; this year, we felt as if we could – and even should – simply enjoy our time together. Create our own family traditions for each holiday. And even, begin to discuss with seriousness, how we would share and celebrate Christmas with our children ‘one day’. Leave and cleave.

Over our 36 hour Christmas, we read the story of Jesus’ miraculous birth from the Bible  – while we sipped champagne. We enjoyed sleeping in as long as we possibly could, aware that next year there could be a baby crying down the hall. Sweet friends from church said they felt sad we were spending Christmas ‘alone’ and invited us to celebrate with them. It was a generous thought – but honestly, we just enjoyed each other.

This year, just before Easter and our embryo transfer, God spoke to us and encouraged us to add in a new and important tradition – for our family. We had been praying and begging and crying for a precious baby, and the Lord didn’t say yay or nay. He simply asked us to begin a new tradition this year – one for our family. A tradition that would be important to share with our children.

Isn’t it amazing how the Lord answers your prayers with His own amazing Ways?

Us: Lord, please. We long to be parents. You asked us to see first Your Kingdom, and we are seeking You, Lord. Please, Holy Father, bless us with children.

God: There is a new tradition I want you to celebrate. One that will bring light to Easter. One that will be important to share with your children.

Just as Noah cried out: Save me from this sinful land!

And God answered: Build an enormous boat in this desert.

Answered prayer isn’t always as plain as we hope it to be.

And so in answer to His request, we studied the Passover and we prepared for our first celebration of this long-standing tradition. You can too – this is an amazing pdf file that leads you step by step through the celebration of the Messianic Passover meal. I won’t even begin to try to magnify its unbelievable significance and undeniable parallels for Christians…Please click on the above link, and you will be flabbergasted to discover that (SHOCK!) God really was in control and knew what He was instituting all along!

Really, our faith makes a mustard seed seem huge sometimes.

The Passover Lamb – totally unblemished and pure |  Jesus – Our Sinless Savior.

The matzoh bread – unleavened, pierced and striped | Jesus – sinless, pierced and striped for our salvation.

The lighting of the Passover candles by a woman | Jesus – light of the world, brought into existence by a woman.

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Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us in life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this season!
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Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who sanctified us in Yeshua the Messiah, the Light of the World and our Passover Lamb.
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“It is appropriate the woman lights the candles that bring light to the Passover celebration. It reminds us that Messiah is the “Seed of the Woman” and the Light of the World, who will overcome the powers of darkness and restore truth and life.”

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“Knowing He had been given all authority in Heaven and on Earth and He had eternally shared the glory of God and would soon return again to share God’s glory, [the] Messiah acted as a servant and washed the feet of His disciples. He set for all time the supreme example of servanthood and humility. Let us now wash our hands.”
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Urchatz: Washing the hands
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Karpas: Parsley; Passover, is celebrated during spring, when the Earth is green again with life. This parsley represents life. It is dipped into salt water, representing tears. This is a reminder of God’s people’s slavery in Egypt, and also represents hyssop – the plant dipped in the blood of the Passover lamb and applied to the doorposts of the Hebrew homes in Egypt.
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Maror: Bitter Herbs; This is eaten because the ‘Egyptians embittered the lives of the Hebrews they enslaved.’ For the Christian and Messianic Jew, we remember the bitterness of life before we were saved by Christ’s death and resurrection!
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Charoset: Sweet Apple Mixture; “This represents the mud mixed with straw to make the bricks to build Pharaoh’s cities. It reminds us that, if we really know the Three-In-One God and know that we are redeemed, there can still be sweetness – even in the midst of life’s most bitter circumstances…This reminds us that the sons and daughters of God…whom the Father purchased with the blood of His own Son, and for whom He has prepared an everlasting inheritance, must endure trials in order to enter the Kingdom of God. Though we may be despised by the world, we are kings and queens and a royal priesthood.”

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Our make-shift Matzatash is the white cloth to the right. A piece of matzoh is divided into 3 separate ‘compartments’, separated by a piece of cloth. The middle piece is removed, broken in half, and one half is placed back in the middle section of the Matzatash. The other half is placed in a cloth and hidden. As Christians and Messianic Jews, we recognize that these three piece of matzoh represent the Triune God – the Father (whom no eye has seen), the Son of God, Messiah (who reveals God to us), and the Holy Spirit (whom no eye has seen). 
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The middle matzoh is removed – just as the Son of God came down from Heaven and was revealed to us as our Savior on Earth. It is unleavened just as Jesus lived a perfectly sinless life. It is stripped and pierced just as Jesus was for our transgressions.

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This meal touched our hearts so much and was an even more thorough representation of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for His children than we could have ever imagined. There is so much more beauty in this Passover meal than I can relay to you. I do hope you’ll visit the link I mentioned above and learn more for your own family! Who knows – maybe next year, your family will be celebrating both Passover and Easter alongside ours!

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God's Will · TTC Tuesday · Uncategorized

Our Unexpected Journey

tuesday

Wow. Where do I even begin? I haven’t posted since August 26th…there’s a new domain name for our site…so much has happened…

The Lord has been knocking on my heart to begin blogging about Him – to share His Holy Name with the world, and to be honest, I’ve been lazy. I’ve been intimidated by the responsibility. I’ve been hiding in my grief after losing my precious baby boy this summer. But God continues His knocking, His beautiful persistence. And this morning I literally had no choice. I was compelled to follow His nudging. So let me catch you up on our journey to now.

I’ll begin at the beguine. If you are new to The Not-So Newlywed Lefebvres, I would ask you to back up a few posts and get a little bit of back story…but for any of you who have followed us for awhile now, you might remember that all Craig and I have ever longed for is a child. God promised us our precious Jonah Elizabeth, and we have been waiting patiently for nearly five years now. We were called to serve God in Maine this past year, and at the end of June 2016, we packed up our home in Georgia to move to a tiny town in Maine, into a big farmhouse we fell in love with. Almost immediately upon our arrival, amidst all of the painting and decorating and revamping, we received a call from the adoption agency we had been courting (but had not yet committed to), with amazing news: they had a precious baby boy (to be born in a month) for us.

As you might imagine, we ran the gamut of emotion: overwhelming joy, utter fear, anxiety, love, and were especially filled with praise for the amazing Father God who had blessed us in such a MIGHTY and unexpected way. Adoption had always been on the table for us. We have always wanted a house-full of children, and the moment we were exactly where God called us to be, here was our baby boy. Overwhelming cannot begin to describe the fullness every emotion carried during that month.

The adoption agency demanded every cent of their funding at the drop of a hat, and while scrambling to prepare a nursery and a home for this precious child, the Lord, literally, blessed us with every cent and every single thing we needed for our miracle. I could not have been more in love with a child if he had been growing in my own womb. I  must have cried tears of joy 60% of every single day. Every. Need. Was. Met. In less than a month. How can that be attributed to anyone but God?

I spent afternoons with the birthmother. I heard our boy’s heartbeat, watched him wiggle on the ultrasounds, saw him kick her stomach. He was my miracle. And then, he was not.

On August 17th, the birthmother’s parents intervened and told the agency their daughter could not give her child up for adoption. This precious child who they had tried to abort in the first months; who was the victim of alcohol and heroin and methamphetamine and cocaine abuse… And there was nothing we could do, but pray.

And we did. A whole army of prayer warriors rose up and prayed for this situation. But alas, what I believe was God’s Will was not done. And we were left standing there, not knowing if we could move or breathe or smile ever again. I have never known that kind of pain – pain I still face whenever I allow myself to think about our would-have-been baby boy…So I try not to.

Our failed adoption led to persistent longing. In prayer, the Lord was urging us on as He had never done before in pursuit of parenthood. It was as if a lion had been awakened from slumber. Friends reached out of the woodwork and recommended specialists and volunteered themselves to help in anyway they could have. It was beautiful.

On one such recommendation, we made an appointment with a doctor of functional medicine in Minnesota, Dr. Paul Deglmann. And in the same breath, we also made an appointment with Boston IVF, to speak with them about our options – maybe after 4 years and all of this heartache, we felt it was time to see if an IUI was an option for our family.

‘Dr. Paul’ in Minnesota, proved to be excellent and bring-about some thought-provoking insights for us about our infertility. After numerous tests, we began to solve many issues that didn’t seem directly related to infertility, but were certainly underlying factors. Eight months later and my blood work is what doctors have been referring to as ‘fantastic’. I feel better than I have in years. I don’t even need coffee in the morning. It’s pretty amazing.

Meanwhile, in New England, we had been to see Dr. Lannon at Boston IVF for an IUI consultation. After looking at our medical charts, he told us an IUI may not work with our particular fertility issues, because I may still (even after my procedure to reopen my collapsed Fallopian tubes in which I woke up from anesthesia during said procedure) have tubal damage. However, he said that in looking at my charts, we were a very unique case because I had been ‘diagnosed’ with PCOS, but had almost none of the  symptoms. Dr. Lannon said he didn’t feel like I had been properly diagnosed (the same thing my endocrinologist and Dr. Paul thought), and that there was a clinical study that almost no one qualified for (but I did), in which we would undergo IVF for *only* $6,000 all-inclusive.

  1. We were shocked. $6,000 is actually an unbelievable savings to undergo in-vitro fertilization.
  2. IVF is something we had never considered for ourselves, and in fact, had always been opposed to doing.
  3. Dr. Lannon felt that given our age, and our medical history, this could be our ‘only shot’ at having children biologically.

This was quite the amount of information to process…So we told him we would consider it, and get back to him…

Again, IVF is something that had been totally off the table. We both felt as if it would be unnecessary in our case, but after our summer of surprises, we decided we needed to seek the Lord about the options that lay in front of us.

Now, when Craig and I both ‘go off’ to seek God’s Will about something, we always acknowledge we will be praying, and don’t reconvene until the Lord has spoken. In this instance, God showed me some things, pretty emphatically, very quickly, but I knew Craig hadn’t received a Word yet – so I waited, as I have in the past, and lo’ and behold, several days later, he called from a trip to tell me what the Lord had revealed to him. Interestingly, God showed us the same things in different ways. Because God is AWESOME like that!

He showed me the book of Genesis, and pointed out that His first command to His creation was to “Be fruitful and multiply.”

“So God created human beings in his own image.

In the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.

Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.’ ” Genesis 1:27-28 NLT

To Craig, He revealed He is the author of life, and that this step would not be ‘taking matters into our own hands’ – that only God gives life, no matter science’s role in the ‘process’. We both felt, after years of feeling otherwise, compelled to take this step.

And so we did.

We began repeating every. single. fertility test known to man at the flagship Boston IVF clinic in Waltham, Massachusetts, driving there several times each week. Giving blood samples like candy to kids on Halloween and being poked and prodded and tested. Everything was set in motion. This was really happening.

And then it wasn’t.

We received a seemingly standard call from Boston IVF, and were told that the group heading the clinical study had decided against my participation due to the fact I take the prescription Metformin – a fact they had known all along.

And once again, it felt like the world was crashing down around us. But still we felt IVF was on our table. Still, we felt the Lord right there, next to us, in the midst of all this pain. After four years of being still and silent, all of a sudden, this summer had become tumultuous and sad.

Dr. Lannon called us and apologized that this had happened to us. He felt that everything was handled incorrectly, but told us he still wanted us as patients and that the clinic would take our particular case into consideration, and possibly be able to discount our own in vitro fertilization journey. Honestly, he was more considerate, kind and caring than any other physician we had seen – and we had only met with him in person once.

Fast forward to today. After much prayer, we are in the midst of an IVF cycle. I won’t say it has been a fun journey – because injecting yourself with three shots per night would only be fun if I were a masochist, but we are here. And we are at peace.

I’ve seen and felt the judgement when we have told others we decided to pursue IVF, and I want you all to know this isn’t a decision we came to lightly. This isn’t a ‘last-ditch effort’ to have children, and we didn’t decide to take this path because we feel God is any less powerful than we know He is.

I mentioned above that in our failed adoption, I don’t feel like God’s Will was done. And I don’t. I think many times something happens, or doesn’t, and people say, “Well, I guess that was God’s Will.”

I respond, emphatically, “No!

We live in a fallen world. God’s plan is not always heeded. If it were, this would be Heaven. All of creation would be following the Will and the Word of the Father. And that is not the case.

In the case of the adoption, the ‘birth grandparents’ intervened, I feel, against the Will of God. In the case of the clinical study, the megaset medical study team went on their own protocol and procedure, without giving a thought to God’s plan for the study.

Could I be wrong? Sure.

But I don’t feel so in my heart. The Lord let Craig and I be ‘us’, and led us to the place He called us, and now He has called us to fill our Ark. In the midst of these appointments and injections and medicines and procedures, we feel peace. And it’s the same peace I have felt when I relented to God and gave Him His way.

Watching a Joyce Meyer broadcast last week, she said something that really resonated with my soul:

Sometimes a miracle involves medical science. It isn’t that God couldn’t do it Himself, but Who gave the doctors and scientists the ideas in the first place? Without God, human beings wouldn’t have the intelligence they do to perform the medical miracles that are being accomplished.

God can use anyone, anything and any situation to bring about His Will. All that is necessary are His willing followers. Can He heal people miraculously? Absolutely. Does He always? No. Sometimes He uses doctors to heal His children. Sometimes He doesn’t bring us healing on Earth at all.

And so, my friends, here we are. If you wish to follow our IVF journey up to this point, check out our YouTube channel. We began vlogging about our experience because it is such an invasive and intimidating process and in our research and anticipation, we learned so much about it from other Christian IVF vloggers that we wanted to share the wealth (of knowledge).

And one other thing – I will be blogging again, as well. That’s no empty promise. God has been on my heart to write again, to tell the world what He places on my soul, and I plan to do just that.

So pray for us. And share this page. Tell your friends. You never know who God places in your path that might need a certain Word. Really. You never know…

Ta-ta for now, folks.

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He Will Do the Rest

It’s Thirsty Thursday!! And I was pondering what I might post today…but upon reading the following blog post from some amazing missionary fellow bloggers in Italy, I knew this was the message we needed to share today!!

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No Fear!

We posted this more than a year ago…but it’s just as timely now as ever!

The (Not-So) Newlywed Lefebvres

Thursday

I remember, back in middle school, all the ‘cool guys’ wore t-shirts with this on the back:

Craig, did you have one of these? 🙂

Why is it that having “no fear” is something we only apply to our secular lives? Jesus calls us to have “no fear” when it comes to our relationship with Him and where He leads us and guides us.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT

But when He calls us to do something, we think:

“I can’t make that happen. I’m too busy.”

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“Our schedules don’t allow for that.”

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“I’m not good enough.”

“Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one!” Isaiah 44:8…

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Your Choice

Good Morning Folks!

I penned this post one year ago today, and even though I am not an active Youth Minister at the moment, I think it bears repeating because ‘church begins in the home’. Truly, you are doing the greatest disservice to your children if you are allowing them to decide whether or not church involvement is ‘for them’. They are children. You are the role model. We may not have children of our own, yet, but as a former Youth Minister, I am speaking from experience here. Read on… 🙂

The (Not-So) Newlywed Lefebvres

ThursdayYes, I know. I’m the Worst. Blogger. Ever. If that award is anywhere to be awarded, send it my way. I deserve it! One of our last blogs already detailed how busy we have been, and the past few weeks have been NO EXCEPTION, but, at any rate, I feel guilty for abandoning my blogging family so much since our move! 😦

Forgive me?

Since taking on my new role as Youth Minister for two parishes in Southern Maine, I have been faced with new thoughts about our faith – some of them, I never thought I would have to look face-to-face, but therein lies the joy of life! Nothing is ever what you THINK it will be!

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with…

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Pack!

We posted this exactly one year ago today, but the message is as relevant now as it was then! It’s hard to believe the unfathomable work God has done in that short amount of time!

Following Him sure doesn’t look like the WORLD, but man, what an adventure!! Don’t worry about how you will accomplish what He asks of you…He takes care of your needs, if you only TRUST HIM!

And as a side note, as of today, we have completed negotiations with someone who placed an offer on our home in Maine! My how He comes full circle! 🙂

The (Not-So) Newlywed Lefebvres

Tuesday

When we listed our home for sale on the morning of March 28th, it was with excitement and a sense of the unknown. We knew we wanted to move into a new home, but we weren’t sure where…or when…or what it would be like; we just knew that we were not living in “our” home. But besides the feeling we were living somewhere that wasn’t ‘the place for us’, there were no onlookers to our home, not many bites, no phone calls of interest….and frustration set in.

Not too much later – some time in April, Craig came to me and said, “God is asking us to pack.”

But, sadly, we didn’t listen. Each weekend there was a different excuse:

“I’m tired.”

“We’re too busy.”

“Where will the boxes go?”

“What will we eat off of if we pack up all the plates?”

…so we never really packed…

Until, one day…

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IN CHRIST ALONE

One of my very favorite hymns… Perfect for this Easter Eve.

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In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its…

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2014 (Blogging) In Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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A Thanksgiving Buffet

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Can you believe Thanksgiving is in TWO DAYS?!? I know we can’t! Time just flies, doesn’t it!?! Seems like yesterday we were sweating to death in our air condition-less apartment, and now, they are predicting six inches of snow tomorrow evening! Where did the autumn go?

We definitely have a ton to be thankful for this year – more than I could ever record in a blog post! One of the items on our thankful last is for great friends – new and old. Since moving 1200 miles from our Georgia friends to a brand-new place, we have been so blessed to discover those who have stuck by our sides in this crazy adventure, and new friends who have made us feel more than welcome but at home here.

So today we thank our friends: Georgians, Mainers, Minnesotans, and everyone in between! And to show our appreciation of your love, we have two AWESOME discounts for you, plus a really interesting set of Thanksgiving recipes from across the country!

Carseat Canopy

Go to carseatcanopy.com and use the following code: 5F306D00A
This gives.you $50 off your order, making the canopy cover free! You just pay shipping!

UdderCovers

Go to Uddercovers.com and use the code 3625DD37C for $35 off! This makes most of the options free! You’ll just pay shipping!

Even if you don’t have a new child this year, maybe you’re planning for the future, or maybe you are looking for a great Christmas gift for some new parents in your life… Both of the above sites have some great products for all things baby!

Thanksgiving From Around The U.S.

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Click the link above for the coolest article from the New York Times! They have a Thanksgiving recipe for every state in the country, plus Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.! Of course, Maine shares a recipe having to do with lobster, so you have to check it out! Yum!

Well, folks…we are posting early today because we have a special outing planned: We are heading to Plymouth Rock for some fun and a history lesson! Have a wonderful day!

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Busy With A Capital Zzzzzzzzz…

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As you all know, Craig and I have a very limited number of relaxing weeks and weekends, and in that regard,  nothing has been remotely out of the ordinary!

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In the midst of getting to know our new stomping grounds, we have also kept busy with my Youth Ministry. A few weeks ago, we sang “Revelation Song” at Mass, and rounded out the day by volunteering at a local assisted living facility, and various other acts of service.

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I am blessed with a great group of teens! Last week, we meet for a Pizza & Devotion Night at a local restaurant, and it was so cool to have a discussion about faith right in the midst of a busy and crowded restaurant.

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As a matter of fact, this weekend, we will be hosting an overnight teen lock-in with another church…We better start resting NOW! 🙂

We also recently made a trek down to Georgia for what seemed like the flash off an eye! I drove down with the pups and was able to meet my best friend’s sweet and beautiful daughter, Willa:

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I spent a relaxing afternoon of catching up and manicures with a dear friend in Atlanta:

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And Craig and I both were able to spend some meaningful time with family…so meaningful we didn’t even stop and think of taking any pictures! :-\

After taking Craig back to the airport in Atlanta for work, the furs and I made the JOURNEY back to Maine…in ONE stretch! Thanks to our awesomely fuel efficient car, I only stopped once for diesel!

And since our return and my opportunity to speak at the Maine Catholic Women’s Conference last weekend, we have resumed our usual frenetic pace!

Well, back to that busy schedule we go! I have some crafts to make for this weekend’s lock-in, and presumably, a nap to take!

So, what keeps YOU busy? We’d love to hear! 🙂 Can’t wait to talk to you again tomorrow!

XoXo,
Pier & Craig

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