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Some God in my Gardening

The older I get, the more settled & *cough…ahem…cough* domestic I seem to become. My nightly Google searches have switched from, “what bars are closest to this bar I’m currently at” to, “easy sewing patterns…how to make a pallet dog bed…how to decorate outdoor patio using concrete, rubber bands, & beer tabs.” Okay, maybe the last one is a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea.

I’ve taken up gardening…

By “taken up gardening” I really mean, “I’ve developed an obsession for gardening…”

Thanks to Pinterest, a father who has always had a vegetable garden & a plethora of Twitter-communities where gardening is cool again, my obsession has been even more fueled. This is the first year that I’ve had a real decently thriving garden in my yard. I moved to my house about 3yrs ago; a big metropolis village of 300 people. Not that I lived in a real big city before, but a city of 100,000 compared to a village of 300 is a big difference. Trust me, I’m not complaining. AT ALL! I’m a country girl with country roots & cities are not my thing. Now I live smack-dab in the middle of the woods, with a long driveway & land for my dog to run around un-fenced. That also means I have land to plant an outdoor herb & vegetable garden.

While I’ve always had a love for gardening, it was pretty limited when I lived downtown in the city. I had no yard & my “garden” consisted of tomato plants growing in flower pots on my deck. One year my tomato’s seemed to come up missing, while I thought it was a stray raccoon or cat stealing them (cats eat tomato’s???) I later caught my neighbor plucking them off my plants…it did not end well. Another year I bought a “Topsy Turvy” plant from a

my $400 upside down tomato plant

my $400 upside down tomato plant

commercial on TV. This product was made for tight-space living; was hung upside down from a hook & tomato’s grew downward. I thought “perfect” & couldn’t wait to expand my deck garden. Well, the commercial didn’t lie! This plant took off! It grew so well & contained so many tomato’s (definitely factory-produced seeds that grew low-quality, abundant tomato’s) that one day I came home from work to find that my upside down tomato plant had grown into the gutters & the weight had ripped them down & half of my neighbors gutters. A $19.95 product ended up costing over $400 to fix. Nice!

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Green onions & romaine lettuce started from seeds.

So fast-forward a few years & my 3rd season of planting at my house & the soil finally seems dense enough to support a healthy, full garden.
I started my plants from seeds back in March. March, 7th to be exact. As told by the dates I had sharpied on the egg-carton starters. My sunroom had turned into rows of seeds that rooted & bloomed into tomatoes, onions, lettuce, eggplants, dill, chives, parsley & lots more! I had containers on my fireplace mantel, Hearst & brickwork, on my fish tank, on the floor, behind the couch…you name it & it had a vegetable or herb. Ohio also had a late spring, so I didn’t get outside to plant until the beginning of June. By that time I had lost some of my vegetables & they had to be replaced with plants purchased from greenhouses. Quite the ordeal of tilling the garden, pulling weeds, planting, mulching, weeding again, watering, weeding again….and again…and again…but they’re a’growin!!!

This may seem like a huge, detailed backstory to someone who has little to no interest in gardening. But those that enjoy it will understand when I say what therapy my little garden has been. The last few years have been very hard & stressful in my personal life. While I have found ways to relieve that stress (I’m a big outdoorsy-girl), there’s a different kind of therapy that comes from working the land & watching something grow. There’s something different about getting your hands dirty, sweating, tending, & then reaping the benefits of something you’ve put your time into.

I listen to music a lot, I rarely watch TV but I always have music on. When I’m out hiking-headphones on, when I’m cleaning the house-music playing in background, when I’m running (okay, let’s be real. When I’m out one-step-up-from-walking)-headphones on. However, when I’m working in the garden…no music. I’m on my hands & knees, digging in the dirt, my dog at my feet, & I’m thinking…figuring stuff out, praying, having conversations in my head. I’m going through an especially hard time right now, making some big decisions & stressing out over what is the right path; in addition to stresses that life already has me boggled down with. Yesterday while in the middle of planting squash, the story of the Israelites popped into my head. God delivered the Israelites out of slavery from the hands of Egypt, however, he didn’t take them to the Promised Land right away. They wandered around in the wilderness for 40yrs; they couldn’t see past their own stubbornness, unforgiveness, frustrations, situations & attitudes. They never even realized how close they were to their promised land until they gave up even more control. This is me, I’m currently in the wilderness. Even though I’m delivered from the bondage I was in, I’m still “wandering” around in the desert until my promised land. Have I done anything wrong?? No. In fact, I’ve done everything right (mostly). I’ve obeyed. I’ve listened. But the reward hasn’t come yet. Is it frustrating? You bet’cha! Especially for someone like me who lives by day planners & loves schedules. Do I feel forgotten? Ignored? Un-worthy? Yes, Yes, Yes. But just like my garden, the harvest will come. The reward will come because I’ve been working the land, planting seeds, watering, & weeding. Is there an area of my life that God is trying to get me to focus on before the harvest can come??? I believe there is. I can only pray that He will reveal that to me so I can move on.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”-Galatians 6:9-

Being in the wilderness stinks, big time. But it will make the harvest that much sweeter. And all these thoughts came because I decided to plant some tomatoes.

My first tomato has arrived! Will turn into a Indigo Blood Rose tomato, black & a sweet salad tomato! Can't wait!

My first tomato has arrived! Will turn into a Indigo Blood Rose tomato, black & a sweet salad tomato! Can’t wait!

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10 Things that (MAJORLY) Suck…

I love blogging, hands down its one of my favorite ways to unwind. Truth be told though, I just haven’t felt like doing it lately. Not for lack of blog ideas, but I’ve just been grouchy for several weeks…months. There’s been so many stresses that have seemed to be piled on lately that my peace was, not lost, but definitely hiding. Add to the outside stresses & the fact that Ohio seems to be in the never-ending-no-sunshine-sub-zero winter & I’ve fully embraced my grouchiness.

I’m FORCING myself to get out of this slump. It doesn’t suit me. This is my last “hoorah” of grumpy complaints that we can all relate too.

Introducing my list of the top 10 things that ooze with suckage

1. Burning your toasted cheese sandwich & not having any more cheese slices left. (Sub sequentially this is the incident that started me making up this list. And as my friend, Evie, pointed out: it would suck more running out of bread instead…#truth)

2.You’re super engrossed in watching a DVD from Netflix(Redbox…stolen from the library) & it freezes on ya. Forcing you to skip ahead to the next frame, thus losing crucial minutes that off-set the rest of the movie for you.

3.Be in a high-traffic public restroom with a line waiting to use. Quiet in a stall…doing your thing only to discover the toilet dispenser is empty. Panic…do you ask the person in the stall next to ya? Or zip up & go? This is equally as much of a panic-filled moment if you were to flush & the toilet starts clogging.

4.For Book Nerds!!!!! Setting your book down on the arm of the recliner while you leave to re-fill your wine. It falls off the recliner…place is lost. Grumble, grumble.

5.Paying to put gas in your car with change. And not the cool change like quarters, but the throwaway kind like nickels & pennies. This is followed by fervent prayers that your small amount of gas will make it until next payday, four days away.

6.finding out that someone is a gazillionaire after they “invented” the same product that you & your buddies thought up first years ago. Yes, I’m still harbouring bitterness over the fact that in 7th grade I wrote a whole report, complete with research, charts, diagrams & a travel brochure about vacationing to the moon. To which my teacher wrote,”nice fantasy!”.

7.arguing with someone about a subject only to realize halfway through the argument that they’re right. I don’t know about you, but my pride forces me to continue on with my stance…ending with,”alright, fine…whatever. I’m not arguing anymore”….saving face.

8.Convincing yourself that the voicemail left from a phone number you don’t recognize is your ex from years ago calling; who not only has your digits still saved, but is calling you at 3:15p on a Tuesday afternoon to tell you how miserable he’s been without you. 10 seconds later you find out it’s Verizon saying you missed your payment. 😕

9.that awful eye-watering zit you to pop in the crease of your nose. Don’t be grossed out, we’ve all had them.

10.the alarm clock buzzing you awake on Monday morning…
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A letter to my Off-the-Market Friends…From your *single* Friend

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Dear Off-the-Market Friends…

This includes: married, engaged, those in long & short term relationships, dating, “talking” to someone, and/or if you’ve made eye contact with the cute guy at the gas station (which in your mind means this is a clue that you need to start shopping for Bridal magazines)…

Let me start off by saying how much I love ya & truly value our friendship. I adore the fact that you’ve found,”the greatest guy on the planet” (as per your gazillion Facebook, Twitter & Instagram posts proclaiming him as such). I think your kids are uber-adorable & I cheese over how sweet your white-picket fence life is. But please allow me one bitter-induced minute to explain why all of it makes me want to vomit.

I really don’t MIND being single, especially when I hear about nasty divorces, cheating spouses, & the fact that I can watch whatever I want on tv BUTwhen I see a 21yr old girl showing off her diamond engagement ring please don’t judge me if I express my desire to punch her in the nose. This is 100% my jealousy, so don’t take offense. I’m equally as jealous of the lady in the grocery store with a ring; the lady that reminds me of Honey Boo-Boo’s mom & I catch myself thinking,”How can she find a man & I still can’t???”

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Regardless of the reality I automatically resort to low self-esteem, Jr. High “Why didn’t anyone ask me to the Winter Dance?” school days. Every girl is someone cuter, thinner, smarter, richer, younger…I’m a chick, that’s how we rationalize things. Please forgive my whiny, self loathing right now (Yes, I’m currently annoyed with myself at the moment).

Friend, don’t get angry if I’m gravitating towards other single friends right now. This has nothing to do with you. When I’m with my single friends we get to bitch & moan about being single while pretending we don’t really care over bottles of cheap wine & chocolate cake. This is also our opportunity to crack on past boyfriends & then look up THEIR wedding pictures on Facebook. Single friends understand that while we would never return to said ex, it drives us crazy that said ex got married before we did (open another bottle, please!). This is a club reserved for those that haven’t found,”the greatest guy on the planet” & it’s a club that, while we like hanging out together, we’re kind of sick of being in. Just like you hang out with other married couples, it would be awkward to bring along a lone single (3rd wheel is never fun).

While I know your intentions are pure, please PLEASE don’t suggest that I join a dating site or suggest that I meet your co-worker Steve,”who is a great guy BUThas a ‘slight’ addiction to crack…”

20140217-174331.jpgI appreciate the fact that you’re trying to set me up with someone but the “BUT” wounds my pride. In essence you’re saying,”the best that I think you can do is a guy who collects belly-button lint & has a passion for toenail art”. Do I expect to end up with a Channing Tatum look-a-like??? No! Because I recognize that I’m no Megan Fox…but is it really too much to ask that he be employed & NOT living with his parents at 35??? And although I have nothing against dating sites, in fact I’ve tried them & have heard that people have had positive results. They’re not for me. I’m choosing to believe that God is writing a different love story for me than a connection on a dating site.

Also, please don’t try to set me up with a guy who dates a different chick every weekend. Early 20’s I would’ve been on-board with that, but early 30’s–not a fan. There’s nothing more revolting than a man who tells a different girl,”I love you” every Saturday night at the bar & then Sunday morning forgets her name. And when I’m crying over that outcome, please don’t follow up with,”God has someone planned for you” or “the right one will come along”. This is why I need my single-friends, they’ll understand how the loss feels more than you do in your wedded bliss.

Know, dear friend, that when you complain to me about how mad you are that your husband didn’t take out the trash or that he forgot Valentine’s Day I’m secretly rolling my eyes at you. When I’m the only one taking out the trash, cleaning the house, paying the bills, fixing the car, figuring out who I’m gonna vacation with, & the only Valentines gift I get is from my dog & that’s cleaning up his bathroom duties out of the yard. Well, my sympathy card is a little thin.

Above all, if one day I find myself in your position nagging & trying to set up another single friend. I ask that you throw this letter in my face & tell me to back off. That seems fair…

Sincerely,
-Your Single Friend-

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50 Shades now for kids!

What’s acceptable for kids’ eyes sure have changed since I was young! Gone are the days of the Baby-Sitters Club & Sweet Valley High. Book-nerds will recognize the 50 Shades Trilogy 3 rows down from the top. I’m predicting an influx of junior high pregnancies this year….

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*well played BAM at Sandusky Mall, well played. Stay classy!*

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Book Report: Radical by David Platt

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“Jesus apparently wasn’t interested in marketing himself to the masses”

This was the first line that I had underlined in the book, “Radical” by David Platt. A book that I was roped into reading by deciding to join the 2013/14 MTI (ministry training institute) program at my local church.

This line rubbed me the wrong way & thus started a love/hate relationship with the novel.

While the author, David Platt, had a lot…A LOT of ideas & key points that I agreed with, he equally had a lot that I didn’t. For me, the over-riding tone of the novel was how arrogant the author came across to me. I wouldn’t say that I’m a defensive person; I’ve accepted my strengths & weaknesses and when they’re pointed out to me, it’s often a trait that I’ve already realized I have. But I’ve never had somebody, especially an author that I haven’t met, so “in my face” & “you’re doing Christianity wrong”. In other words, he’s telling me that I’m loving Jesus & representing him wrong.

Not a fan of that!

I will admit, I am FAR from the model Christian. And I don’t strive to be. What I do strive to be is somebody that God can be proud of & that I represent Him well. Imperfections and all. This novel made me feel that unless I’m selling all my stuff & living a nomad lifestyle, floating between society to society spreading the gospel that God will look at me one day & say, “you’ve failed me”.
And I don’t believe that to be true.

While I do agree in living with LESS & giving MORE, I don’t think that God wants us to struggle in order to help others. If we did that, then we (in turn) would be the ones struggling & would need the help. And I also agree, big time, that God does want us to travel; to get out of our comfort zone and spread the gospel, however, I don’t necessarily think we have to go to foreign countries to do that. And somebody shouldn’t feel bad about not having a calling to go on an extended Missions trip. Personally, I would LOVE to go on an international Missions trip & I know that I will one day. But I also know that plenty of people are hurting in your own country, town…family. Sometimes things don’t have to be big & extreme, sometimes you can start small with the people closest to you.

David Platt, oftentimes, came off pompous to me. And that’s exactly what he’s trying to tell us NOT to be like, his whole novel was about humbling oneself & being a servant. And I agree with that, completely. But throughout the whole novel he told us what his church was doing; how his followers were making a difference, the letters he was receiving from those that have heard him speak…his, his, his. Yeah, we get it. You’re trying to be “Radical” & it’s working in your awesome Mega-church. But how about you leave your mega-church, donate all the proceeds from your book sales & live on the $10,000 that you’re preaching most of the world lives on (which I believe to be wholeheartedly true), uproot your family & lead them into dangerous & uncharted territories. My guess is he wouldn’t do that, and who can blame him? God hasn’t called him to do that. And he shouldn’t be faulted for living a “comfortable” lifestyle & not living a life that would make people question if he was homeless. However, my impression is that he wants his church-goers & readers to do that because that’s the only way you can be a true disciple of Jesus.

And maybe he’s right. I’m very limited on my understanding of God, Jesus & the Bible. God does want us to trust Him, have faith in Him beyond measure. And I know that I, personally, struggle in that area BIG TIME. However, I don’t think I’m less of a Christian or God is disappointed in me & thinks I’m a bad disciple because I take a step back & question things. If God chooses to bless me financially where I don’t have to struggle to pay bills, then I know he’ll bless me with knowledge on how/where He wants me to spend it. But until that time comes & I don’t have to pray ferociously that my income will cover basic needs I refuse to feel guilty that I don’t give enough. The season of my life that I’m currently in, is one where I’m learning to give up control & walk in faith. This is the season that God has decided I need to be in at the moment, I don’t like it. But I accept it.

The “Radical” challenge presented I like. And I’ve been giving it a lot of thought & praying very hard over it. I have not signed it yet because I’m not sure if I can give up a year to that dedication. Again, reading the Word, praying…no issue with that at all. But the giving up money for a specific purpose/going on a “missions” trip. I just don’t know if financially I can afford to do that. And I also feel there’s things that God is still weeding out in my own life & this might not be the right time to focus on a “Radical” challenge. If he calls me to do it, then I will. If I make a commitment to accept the challenge, then I know I’ll give 100% & I have no doubts that I will see dramatic changes, however, I’m just not sure if this is the right time.

In conclusion, this book gave me tons to mull over & think about. Which is, I imagine, the author’s main point. To get us “thinking”, which he has succeeded in. Tough book to get through and even though I never threw it across the room in frustration, I did roll my eyes at some statements. At a different point in my life, this novel could really spark a positive change in me, but at this point it only sparked me feeling defensive & closed minded.

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When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey

I started the novel with huge expectations. I didn’t know anything about it, but found it on Book Sneeze & thought I’d give it a try. The description sounded awesome; spiritual but with a supernatural twist. I even found a YouTube video promoting the novel & it really peaked my interest.
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At first I couldn’t put the novel down! Loved it! It’s not a long read (about 330pages). The chapters are fairly short & divided up by “days” leading up to a town carnival. The main character is a child named Leah; an only child, introvert, with a stutter. The novel centers around her & her relationship with an imaginary character she’s named, “The Rainbow Man”. Through her The Rainbow Man tells her things & gets her to do things that are a little off-the-wall; she paints a picture with hidden numbers that cause a town member to win the lottery, she approaches an abusive husband at the mall & tells him things that nobody else could possibly know, etc. Every main-character in this novel is pained in some way; her father is a psychiatrist who escapes into his work, therefore, neglecting his wife & child causing problems at home, her good friend & elder, Barney is struggling to take care of his wife’s failing health, the town minister is lacking in his faith & finding it impossible that God would speak his Word through a un-“religious” child with no formal Biblical training & her best friend Allie wants to believe her friend, but when it gets personal for her, she fights with unbelief. Not to mention the town, Mattingly, is full of supporting characters each with their own demons & secrets.

After the initial excitement & allure of the first few chapters wore off, I found this novel…well, kind of boring. I hate to admit that “hearing” Leah’s stutter was a total put-off for me. She has quite a bit of dialogue in the novel (obviously) & I found it annoying the way the author wrote her lines (“It’s nuh-no-ttt-not a h-h-h-ho-hole Mr. Bu-Buh-Barney”) I know that it was used for descriptive purposes because Leah has a stutter, but it added quite a bit of un-necessary paragraphs. Seemed to take a long time for the novel to actually take off. I also didn’t like the introduction of so many sub-characters, too many to keep track off! And I got so confused when the author started talking about a town called Away, had nothing to do with the actual storyline. “The Rainbow Man” character was never really settled for me; was it God, was it an Angel, perhaps even the Devil??? I’m sure that was the author’s point, that we draw our own conclusion, but I’ve got this “thing” about wanting a novel to be “closed & finished” when I’m done reading it. I really didn’t get the whole “Rainbow Man” concept. Reverend Grogginess was an interesting character. While I did agree with some of his ideals & beliefs, he was a little to Bible-Thumping for me. If the author’s point was that through Reverend Groggins’ character people would be introduced to God I think he turned people off more than he led. Barney’s character I did really like. Every small town has that one old guy who is just a good man. Little rough around the edges, but loves the Lord & lives his life very simply. Things are black & white for Barney & I love that! The chapters that tugged at my heartstring most were the ones where he took care of his ailing & disabled wife, Mabel. During her passing, I wished the author would’ve focused more on The Rainbow Man being present at that time. He did focus on it somewhat, but it seemed a little under-developed to me (and forgetful). Leah’s dad, Tom, the town psychiatrist was an interesting guy. It’s not that I disliked his character, but I didn’t necessarily like it either. I never really understood what his deal was. For being such a main character, he seemed a little confused to me. Like the author didn’t really know what to do with him. He left me feeling a little…blah. Leah’s best friend, Allie, was cute as a button. She was the typical bubbly, funny little kid that you can’t help but fall in love with. Again, her character seemed a little undone & I wasn’t sure what the author’s intent was with her.

The storyline was weak. The big event that the whole novel alluded to (as the chapters were all labeled: Chapter 6, 4 days before the Carnival….Chapter 9, one hour before the Carnival…etc.) that I was expecting something huge to happen. It was a tornado. True, a tornado that ripped the town apart but I was left feeling a little disappointed. To be honest, the whole novel & storyline reminded me of a movie I saw a few years ago (that scared the beejeebees out of me) called the Mothman Prophesies. I just didn’t get it….

I wouldn’t recommend this book to a friend. It’s a fast read, even though it took me 7months to get through it. But mostly because it bored the snot out of me. “When Mockingbirds Sing” turned out to be a big disappointment.

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Be your own Best Friend…

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Would you be friends with yourself?

I can say with absolute certainty that at this point in my life I would answer “YES”. The answer to that question wouldn’t always have been so. I’ve been pretty open about my struggles with different behavior & addiction and as much as I’d love to say I’m completely healed from temptation you’d be singing the,”liar liar pants on fire” song to me at that.

Anybody who has ever tried to “move on” or “get over” someone from their past will relate to this next comment: social media sucks when it comes to moving on! From anything! The availability to Facebook stalk, Instagram browse or be Twitter nosey is a real struggle to put the past completely behind you.

Don’t do it! Let me repeat myself: DON’T DO IT!!!!!!!

The other night (okay, I admit it…I had a few glasses of wine which aided in my weakened self-control) I Facebook stalked a few people from my past. After several months, closer to a year, of not knowing what they were up to I fell victim to noseiness. What resulted was exactly what you’d expect to result: jealousy, bitterness, self-pity & basically having a cry-my-eyes-out, “why does this bother me” moment (which then resulted in more wine & feeling the need to exasperate the crying by watching The Notebook & singing at the top of my lungs to some Patsy Cline). While I don’t feel such a tight grip on my past anymore, the fact remains that no matter how much you’ve “moved on” from your past it’s still there & it can still hurt.

The next day I was driving home from work, thinking about different stuff, when I suddenly had to start laughing. If this is the biggest thing on my mind, if this is the biggest bother for me then I’ve got to much time on my hands! People move on, get married, have babies, have LIVES that don’t revolve around you or your feelings. Hell, I’ve certainly got a life that doesn’t revolve around anyone from my past, why should I assume that they don’t have the same!

Which brings me to my point: Be your own Best Friend.

Be the type of person you want to be friends with. House behavior, attitudes & beliefs that you look for in others. Hold yourself accountable for bad behavior & praise yourself for good. Be loyal to yourself & be your biggest cheerleader. Make yourself laugh when you need to & allow yourself to cry & vent when you need to. I’m not saying that you don’t need friends because you most certainly need people in your life that you can rely on, hang out with & support one another. But at the end of the day when you’re alone & you’re the only company you have; what you say to yourself is what determines how you’ll run your race. People can run with you, can support you from the sidelines, can even push & carry you when need be…but only you can cross the finish line!

One thing that everyone has is an opinion & advice on what OTHERS should be doing. Sometimes take your own advice! If you’ve been drinking wine & get the urge to start looking up Instagram pictures, think about what you would tell a friend if they called you & said they were feeling tempted to be nosey. If you know your actions are going to create negative effects for you, make a different decision. I know this comes as a shock (it does to me!) but sometimes things truly are not ANY OF YOUR BUSINESS! Respect that. Don’t be “that” person. Treat yourself how you want others to treat you.

We’re all flawed, even people who don’t think they are….are. Trust is difficult for me, chances are it probably always will be. I love the Lord, but I struggle with trusting in his plan & will for my life. It’s difficult to stay in faith when your prayer requests don’t seem to get answered, but at the end of the day I know what the Lord wants me to do/not do. And usually when I choose to make a decision & act in a behavior that goes against what He does not want for me I end up falling flat.

Love yourself enough to listen to your own advice, as you would any best friend.
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