Tag Archives: Motherhood

Summer Pep Talk for You and Me

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There is a saying that floats around Facebook.  You may have heard it from well-meaning women in grocery store check-out lines while your tribe is begging for all the impulse candy.  I know I hear it often in my head. 

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Oh! This saying creates a sense of panic in me.  What about you?  I start questioning my involvement, my intentions and my priorities.  Am I too caught up in the moment-to-moment emotions, homework and conflicts to see the good stuff in front of me?  Am I wishing my days would either smooth out or go by faster instead of soaking up that our house is great when it is noisy and crazy?  I know I have done both over the past 10.5 years of my mothering journey.  (I still can’t believe my first-born is 10.5 years old… how did that happen? I bet I blinked.  My Mom warned me not to!)

Mothering has changed me in ways I didn’t know it would.  It has built me up and broke me apart.  Being a mom has brought me closer to what truly matters to me.  I have gained a deeper relationship with my God, my self and my family.  It has granted me the sweetest moments of love, pure and true.  Each time one of my children holds my face in their sweaty little grip to kiss me gently or they give me eskimo kisses I feel that love.  And I have seen God in their love for each other.  Sure, they can fight to the death at times, but those fights are few compared to the countless times I have caught them doing right by one another.  They help one another, they stick up for one another and they go on great-caped adventures around our home together.  I have also seen God in their love of all creation.  During the times we slow down, we become grass-stained, freckle-faced and sun-kissed together.  Those days make mothering feel long in a good, carefree way.

The long and short of it is that someday we will swear all the carefree and stress-filled days went faster than we ever thought possible.  If only God would let us push pause, I know we all would.  Here is a glimpse of my paused world maybe you feel the same.  

~ I would pause to have the table full of clanking silverware, dropped napkins, spilled milk that floods everywhere to feel bliss.

~ I would pause to have full beds of the ones we love under the same roof each night to feel peace.

~ I would pause to be the one our children turn to no matter if it is a fly they know for sure is a “bee” or a scary dream that they need to be comforted from.

~ I would pause to be the short order cook/nutritionist who wants to raise healthy people.

~ I would pause to be the one that hugs when they bubble over for no good reason when hormones have started to wreck their bodies, minds and spirits.

~ I would pause to be the one that teaches them to find God in everything around them and in everyone they meet.

In the long and the short of our days, I am praying for you and I to fully sit in the brevity and choose to honor the moments we have been given.  God has chosen us to be a guide in our children’s lives. We point out the path and then let them lead the way.  They are to be our guide as well to bring us back to what truly matters.

Let your children guide you this summer and let’s all enjoy the days we are blessed with.

Remember – try not to blink!

Blessings and Peace to your families and YOU.

Kristin

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(This was originally shared with MOPS@2BC in May 2013.  I re-read it today, because after a crazy week with 2 rounds of antibiotics for major spider bite infections/pain/illness for Rhett and I, a small bathroom renovation, boys traveling for the week, usual wild week stuff plus Kaylee getting sick with the flu early today – – I really needed to be reminded that the days are long and the years are short… share on if you think others might need a reminder too.  Let’s be honest we all do.)

Ah… February…

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February is my crossroads month

February is my crossroads month

 

 

Usually around February my known world gets shook up. Here is the run down on my significant Februarys.

February 1998: I was selected as a new sales employee for Fred Pryor Seminars, a training company. I didn’t graduate until May, but they were willing to wait for me to finish and join the team. This plan allowed the usual senior job crisis to not effect me. I truly loved my capstone classes and time with my friends. The fact I was joining an organization that was based on life-long learning was an amazing step.

February 2003: I had been home for five of my twelve weeks of maternity leave with Ian. I crunched numbers and prayed. We decided that with my previous schedule and Amon’s new work travel each month, I needed to be home. I felt like I was betraying my wonderful boss and all my faithful clients in exchange for the unknown, spit up and no sleep. How we were going to pull off this big, unplanned for step was intimidating. (I guess we pulled it off… it has been 10 years as of 2/4/13)

February 2007: I gave in and we purchased a one-year old orange mini-van and added our then two car seats. (Ian was 5 and Kaylee was 2.5) I knew that day our van, our home and our hearts needed another Wooldridge. More praying and listening. Rhett was born June 2009 and helped fill our mini-van, home and hearts in unmeasurable ways.

February 2010: I did my best to support my dear friend during her loss and my mom as she faced chemotherapy for breast cancer. I became a basket case. I had major times of doubt and questioned my faith in the same moment, I prayed for God to be with those I loved dearly. Now my friend and mom are my biggest cheerleaders to this day.

February 2012: I felt like God was putting many different encouraging voices in my path that guided, nudged and urged me to apply for the CREATE Masters of Divinity program at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, KS. More praying, worrying and doubting flooded my days. I pushed through it and applied even though I was terrified. I know my steps were guided and I was accepted to the fully scholar-shipped program.

February 2013: In two more class I will have finished my first of three years for my masters. Balance, commitment, and family are the three guides for my life now. It is fulfilling, challenging and divine. And completely unexpected. It keeps working out.

I didn’t know how it would work out each February, but looking back it speaks volumes to believing God will provide a path for me. My heart always leaps a little for February and I hope it always does. I hope you can find your month of calling and for you to see you have already been guided divinely or will be soon.

Love and Blessings to you and your families.

Kristin

PS – I felt compelled to share this note with you.  I wrote it for the MOPS@2BC February 2013 newsletter.  I hope if you read it earlier, you can feel a clearer stirring of your own month.

So much…

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I often hear the following:

“I don’t know how you do it all.”

“You should learn to say no.”

“I see you coming and going all the time.  Aren’t you exhausted?”

“Just watching you buzz around makes me exhausted.”

I’ll be honest sometimes it stings.  I do have a lot of plates spinning.  And sometimes I am not sleeping much.  My “extra” things are keeping me up late.  It is the soft footsteps padding down the hall from my sweet three-year old at 3:00 a.m.  And yes, I could have a big production of the injustice of getting out of bed to tuck him back in, but I’ve noticed that his current level of “momma need” is fleeting.  My gig is to be his “person.”

Being his “person” reminds me of a great line from the show, Grey’s Anatomy from a couple years back.

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It is a different kind of “person” than the friendship described on that show.  But it still stands true.  I am his “person” and I will always be.  I am actually 3 smaller people’s “person” and one adult’s.

I try to not lose myself in all the doing, going and being.  It is a lot of ever-changing, coaching, and communicating.  I could use a nap just thinking about it all.  We all know that there isn’t time for that. 🙂  I keep my plates spinning and my people happy. (most of the time)  I am enjoying this phase of motherhood, family, MOPS Leadership, and master’s classes more than any other time yet.  It is freeing to have all these parts to my life and I am thankful for all the plates to spin.  Some days it seems like everything is falling apart and plates are crashing by the crate full.  Those are the days that stick out when some one comments about the business of my busy-ness.  It cuts a little, but I know that this crazy season is what I am in for now and it is a good thing I love it.

K.I.S.S. – A Quick Tale from a Former Poser

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We have probably all heard the K.I.S.S saying before.  I don’t like what the last “S” usually stands for.  I don’t like to throw in derogatory or demeaning names just for the heck of it. (ok – personal soap box is over)

The K.I.S.S. idea and motherhood has been a struggle for me to keep things simple.  Ten years ago, when I started staying home I decided to become Martha Stewart.  Literally.  I put her up on a pillar of what was right, expected and needed by my family of 3 at the time.  I would make meals from scratch, stay up on all laundry and ironing and I would set ridiculously high expectation levels that robbed my life of JOY.

Until one day I stumbled on a show hosted by Martha Stewart’s grown daughter, Alexis.  It popped my self-imposed and society-imposed bubble of Martha Stewart goodness immediately.  OUCH!  I felt different after hearing another side of the perfection saga of Martha Stewart.  Alexis shared that as a child she couldn’t live up to expectations, she didn’t have fancy treats or meals, and rarely a Halloween costume.  Seriously??  And here I was trying to be Martha!  The construction, expectations, and appearance boiled down to a pretty poor relationship with her only child.  No thank you that is not the legacy I was after.

I knew I had to learn the greatest lesson that Martha could teach me.  I needed to learn and live K.I.S.S. – – K.eep I.t S.imple S.ister.  I still enjoy a craft or 12, but I don’t want perfection.  I still enjoy cooking, but a meal from Costco to warm up is ok by me.  By keeping it simple, I can keep up.  My kids can depend on me to sit and listen.  They know I would rather read with them then have a clean and empty kitchen sink or sparkling bathroom counters. And I am focused on the simple things.  It pours into how we live, how we celebrate and how we can do more for others.

I highly recommend in this time of out-doing yourself, your neighbors, and society that you K.I.S.S – K.eep I.t S.imple S.ister.  Trust me the impact is worth it.

Blessings at Christmas to you and your family.

Kristin Wooldridge

A Recovering Martha Stewart Poser

My 3 year old knows more than me…

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He is starting to process and talk more.  He has been what most would call delayed.  We say he is a late bloomer.  He has impressed us for a couple of years with his resourcefulness.  He could imitate sounds for things that he needed or wanted, which always reminded me of the character from the Police Academy movies.  The sound, “shhhhh” was for the water dispenser for our fridge.  “Woof” was all he would say for our dog, Harley.  It was simple but we all got it.

As I said, he is starting to really bloom.  I have teased that it is like watching someone who imigrates or visits here with broken English as he tries to find the right words.  He is focused.  He usess gestures, taps his foot and looks around saying, “eh” or “um.”  If you give him time, he gets it together.  He beams with pride, if you ask him the right claryifying question back.  And he loses his red-headed temper when you are way off base.  He is even known to cover his eyes with his hand and shake his head back and forth in dismay and disapproval.  (Which cracks  me up, but I would never let him see me laugh)

His two older siblings came out of the womb talking non-stop. (hmm… that is definitely hereditary if you ask my Mom)  But Rhett has been much later to talk and question.  He is now sharing his highlight reel of his preschool morning and it is amazing.  He is starting to not just listen to books at bedtime, but repeat, sing along and now ask “why.”  It is music to this Mama’s ears.  Even all the whys.

You may be wondering how a 3 year old is smarter than me.  It all happened as we read before bed this past Saturday.  We were reading a family favorite, Just in Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado.  He has heard this book hundreds of times and I am sure I have read it a thousand times or more in the past 10 years of bedtimes.  It is an “auto-pilot” book.  Meaning I don’t need to read it with the words.  I can just recite it and I don’t often pay close attention to the meaning behind the words.  We were snuggled together and he was very relaxed sitting on my lap in our chair.  All of a sudden he turned to face me and took  me by my cheeks.  He pulled me close and I fought the urge to go into “mom-mode” of “hey, let’s get back to the book.”  But something happened that has never happened before.

He looked deep into my eyes and beamingly said, “Me love you like God love you Mama!” Oh, the tears of joy I instantly had were so full of love.  I covered his face with kissed until he started squealing.  I told him repeatedly, “you got it buddy!”  He gets it better than I do.  He pulled away and said, “Me see God soon?”  And I replied, “God is in everything you see.”  Rhett looked around and said, “Me meet God on Tuesday.”  I said, “Maybe so.”  And he smiled back.  We snuggled down and finished our book with a mom that was not on “auto-pilot.”  We prayed and I tucked him in tight.

As I stepped out of his peaceful room, I thought I can’t wait to share this story on Tuesday.

Hope you have a great Tuesday and that you can find the blessings in the abundance we all have in our lives from God.

Love,

A Mom of A Late Bloomer

BE A BLESSING!

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It all started when Ian went to Kindergarten in the fall of 2008. I would bubble up with all the remember to’s when he left me each day for school.

Remember to play nice.

Remember to use your listening ears.

Remember to be good.

Remember to share.

Remember to take care of yourself.

Remember to help friends who need help.

These don’t even cover the magnitude of what I thought I needed to remind him of each morning. It became quite a long speech. One day it hit me that he didn’t need a bullet point list on how to be at school. He had received that foundation. What he needed was encouragement and inspiration from his Momma. I thought long and hard about what to say in a quick, loving send off.

Be good – but it sounded like be better than others

Be the best – but it sounded like a lot of pressure for a 1st born/type A kiddo

Follow Instructions – but it sounded only rule focused and not creative or relational.

Then I started to learn more about God’s intentionality about each person being designed with a true gift and purpose. We are to use our individual giftedness to be a blessing to ourselves and others. It flipped a switch in my brain. A true EUREKA moment happened. I had found it. My blessing and sending off each time my kids headed to school or anywhere became…

BE A BLESSING!

In the morning now for years, I focus on each of them before they leave our home. Right after jackets and backpacks are on, I take them by the collar and look them right in the eye. I smile and say, “Be a Blessing!” No matter our morning. No matter how tense the time may have been. I bless them. It has become a Wooldridge Ritual. Even Amon surprised me when I was heading off to my seminary retreat in August. He took my by my shoulders and told me to Be a Blessing! It was the first time in over 4 years of blessing our children, that I was blessed before I headed out on a new journey. It felt GOOD! I felt like I was commissioned and blessed with love.

Even today as my three kids left for school, I pulled each of those yahoos by their collars and looked them in the eyes. I then happily sent them off with their blessing!

It is powerful.

It is intentional.

It is positive.

It is from love.

It is inspirational.

I pray for the them to do good, kind things to themselves and those they come in contact with. And that they can make choices that they can be proud of or at least learn from. Raising loving, positive kids should never be easy. It is all about constant choices, communication and pressure. But it is rewarding and amazing to witness their wings being developed. Man, oh, Man – – are they going to take off some day!

SO REMEMBER…

BE A BLESSING!

A little extra I had to share with you::

Today after Ian and Kaylee left the house. I turned my attention to the final details of getting Rhett out the door. I heard the back door open and I wasn’t surprised to hear MOM yelled. It happens often…

Someone forgot a coat

Someone forgot a permission slip

Someone forgot a lunch

Someone forgot a library book

Someone forgot their glasses (usually this one)

I came quickly back into the kitchen to see Ian beaming. Then he started to repeatedly and loudly chant to me.

BE A BLESSING!

B E A BLESSING!

BE A BLESSING!

B E A BLESSING!

What a great chant to start my day! I am blessed beyond measure.

Praying that each of us can B E A BLESSING to those in our lives.

(Thank you for your grace and support as I have been absent from blogging. I am praying to be more intentional. It helps me express my thoughts and I hope it provides encouragement to you as your read. Thank you again for your support. I count each of you who read this as blessings in my life. BE A BLESSING!)

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Chasing My Tail and 3+ others!!

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Awareness: Haven’t blogged here in 2 months and 2 days. I do write every day (well almost) but I haven’t had the time to type them up here… hence this post. I am going to do better at posting. It really helps me grow.

Here goes… disclaimer… if you know me well you know I love our three wild.woolly.wooldridges but I needed to express how motherhood is selfless at every moment unless you are in Mexico and their grandparents are being selfless to care for your kids.

The only room that really is staying clean (most of the time) is our kitchen. It is the site of three culinary experiences a day right now. Well, maybe not that great, but I’m trying to keep 3 eaters happy and well-balanced. With that comes planning mess, prep mess, cooking mess, dining mess, and cleaning mess and post dishwasher unloading. I get that it is important but not much else is happening these days in the rest of the rooms or personally in projects and plans.

As I was clearing another pile of O.P.S., Other People’s Stuff (a family of 5 makes/creates/receives a lot of O.P.S.) from the kitchen counter, I found a half-sheet from my eldest’s Sunday school class folder. It stopped me in my tracks as I was headed to the recycling bin.

If a task is once begun, never leave it till it’s done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all.

Really???? Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

This is probably how I felt before I had children. When I was on my own or newly married. But I think it took mothering for me to get over this way of doing and also judging others for not doing like I was. Now I can get interrupted just once on the way to the pantry and I can’t remember the ingredient I was after. Countless times I will walk around the house and shake my head at the open, half-emptied dishwasher, the drippy ice cream container on the counter, the forgotten toilet bowl cleaner waiting to be swished for hours (extra clean if it sits all day, right?), and I can’t forget the stinky laundry in the washer. (it isn’t like this everyday… but to be boldly honest… it does happen!) I’m pretty sure I don’t have Adult ADHD, but I am sure that moms, especially me are here to help our people, drop what we are doing to mediate a fight or kiss an injury and snuggle until they are better. I don’t jeopardize my children over the task at hand if I can help it and they need me. I’m not saying I’m perfect at either the tasks or the mothering… just trying to find balance.

The top part of the sheet could make me guilt ridden because I should be more focused to deeds and not needs. I am pretty sure I can’t get “IT” all done. But the bottom of the sheet saved me.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might. Ecclesiastes 9:10 NKJV

Praise the Lord!!! My hands are always being called to touch and do. So be it refereeing, snuggling, playing fire trucks while wearing a SWAT helmet, I will do it mightily. This verse helps me see the blessings in my blessings and interruptions. The parenting saying goes, the hours are long, the but the years are short. I couldn’t have imagined how much I would do as a mother. But I can see the years flying by.

Our home (especially our kitchen) is clean enough. Our home serves pancakes from a bag multiple times a week even though my eldest says they are not his favorite. Our home is loving, loud and squirrelly everyday. My kids won’t and don’t measure me by my to do list. They measure me by my love and presence. And those I will continue to do mightily.

NOTE: 1 minute after hand-writing this post: Kaylee asked what was for lunch as I looked over at the counter full of breakfast dishes. While typing this all 3 kids came to me with a complaint, need or dispute. BUT I SOLDIERED ON AND POSTED!!!!!!

Now there is screaming in the basement… off again… no supermom cape… a mighty mom who will be planning and making and cleaning up lunch soon.

Motherhood is like a box of chocolates…

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(9 months a year for 6 years I have written to the women of MOPS@2BC–  in our newsletter – this was for May 2012)

Forrest Gump may have thought life was like a box of chocolate because you never know what you are going to get.  I agree with good old Forrest, but I would have to say that motherhood is a better take on the unknown.  (Heck sometimes I don’t have a clue how even the next 5 minutes are going to go, let alone a whole day, week or month!)

In my life, I can and have made choices and had free will on my side.  I could choose to a point what I studied, where I worked, what I ate, how much I slept and who I was with, etc.  Motherhood is thrust upon all of us in different ways, but it still hits hard with emotions, love, sleep deprivation and being a little crazy all at the same time.  And many times when faced with what decision we need to make for our kids, we feel lost.  I know I do.  The unknown isn’t always as neat as a chocolate box.  It isn’t easy to predict and of course, their temperament and reaction play heavily into each choice.

Many times I feel like I have selected my favorite “chocolate” (a.k.a. my plan or choice), just to have the sudden rush of missing the mark and failing.  In failing, I become a better parent.  It helps sharpen my awareness and it helps me to relate to my motherhood chocolate box differently.  I start identifying the shapes that I like and that also give my child some freedom and independence.  Those moments taste like warm caramel wrapped in chocolate.  Simply delish.

The harder to swallow moments taste like that coconut nougat that I avoid at all costs and offer to anyone near.  We all have those, right?

My prayer for each of us this summer is to enjoy and savor each bite of chocolate with our kids at home and underfoot.  They won’t be there long, ladies.

Be good to yourself, so you can be good to your people.  Hope to see you over the summer!

Faithfully,

Kristin

Top 10 Truths of Potty Training (READ if you need a good laugh & SHARE if you can relate)

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Disclaimer:

This list doesn’t include the negotiating, stomping, whining, crying, cussing, crazed thoughts, questioning God and all of this in the first 15 minutes of a mom attempting potty training.

10.  Previous experience is null and void.  Little Billy won’t be like his siblings Suzy and Bobby.

9. “You know he/she will be potty-trained someday.  You know of any college students in diapers?” = not helpful

8.  “Preschool is in ___ number of months.  Have you thought about trying?”  Really????

7.  How is potty training a child like taking a dog on a walk?  As many times as a dog stops to smell or pee on fire hydrants, your  child will want to visit that many public restrooms.  (and you will be grossed out)

6.  Pull Ups are a joke.  They hold very little and some have “cool alert” feature that is traumatizing for boys.

5.  Rewarding potty training is really children training parents to jump through hoops, clap and act like fools for a little potty.

4.   Some day it will save you time and money.  Not until after it costs you double the time and money.

3.   I would like a treat for every time I ask, “Are you dry?” or “Do you need to go?”

2.   Shopping lists start including pound size M&M’s bags, juice boxes and stickers for tedious charts.

1.   That once you start you will be under house arrest for 5 days shadowing a child that you are deluging with drinks and setting timers to “just try”.

Deep truth: The realization that in the middle of a crowded room, all those people were once potty trained and their parents survived… and I will too.

My Potty Training Resume Experience

Ian, now 9:  was potty trained at 22 months at his demanding.  I spent the whole week crying in the bathroom while reading hundreds of books and making deals with the devil to stop potty training.

Kaylee, almost 7:  was potty trained at 22 months to be like her big brother and she was highly verbal and extremely competitive. It worked but it was exhausting and I would have been happy to keep giving Pampers my money.

Rhett, almost 3:  he could care less and he screams when he is ever near a potty chair or toilet.  He hates all things about diapers and being dirty, but isn’t convinced that he should be out of them.  He will probably be trained when it is his idea or by August 15th, so he can go to preschool!!!  Pretty sure that forcing him to train will provide enough material for his first two years of therapy as an adult.

The saga continues…

Next step is propaganda…  potty training DVDs and books have been put on hold at the library.

Yes this too shall pass… but not without a fight.

Shameless Leap of Faith —  please LIKE, Comment or Share… or all three!!! 🙂  Everyone should have a good laugh at my attempt at potty training.  I would love the support.  I am going to need it during this process.

November + Thankfulness = Grace

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(Each month for the past 6 years I have written a letter to the members of the MOPS@2BC group… my sweet husband thought maybe more people would like to read this note. Hope it sparks something in you!)

Yep that sums it up for me. (see the title again)  Sure time with family, pumpkin pie, and Black Friday shopping with my sister-in-law also stand out. I feel November prepares my heart with thankfulness. It is the ground work of grace by accepting it, giving it and projecting it.

Grace is ever-present and available to each of us. We all can tap into receiving and giving it. I can honestly say that I wasn’t always the best at grace… the giving or the receiving. Grace to me was one of two things: 1) a prayer before a meal 2) a smooth movement or style.

I will admit it I was a “tracker”. What was said to me, about me, or my perception of both those things including I assumed were tracked. (Yes, I needed a different kind of hobby at the time) I was wrapped up in the minor issues, flaws and comments. Grace only played a role in my relationship with my 5 close girlfriends in high school. There was a solid foundation of understanding, acceptance and respect. But that came from time hanging out and sharing our lives. College opened up my receptors some, but I felt challenged to fill my resume up and do. Do LOTS. Leadership, internships, and work. Amon is probably still surprised I made time for our relationship.

So when did I really start living with thankfulness and grace? It might sound cliché but motherhood brought me to a new primal belief that motherhood is a blessing but unbelievably hard. I have grown in my faith and in grace in countless ways in the past 9 years of mothering. Now I want to understand, so that I can be understood. Now I want to support, so that I can be supported. I want to let others know that we should be in community with one another and not in judgment of how we choose to parent, live, or give. My hope is that by giving grace it extends through the recipient and goes on.

I mean it when I say, I am thankful for each of you. I don’t know why each of us are part of MOPS@2BC but I believe that if we give each other the permission to increase our capacity for grace that we can do anything. And probably raise amazing children full of grace.

Be Blessed,
Kristin Wooldridge
http://www.boldlyblessed.com

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