Snow Days and Birth Days: Farm Friday!

A few Saturdays ago we woke up to white.  You can imagine our giddy shock when the whole family of six that has never woken up to white and had no idea that there was even the possibility that snow could happen in November woke up to about 2 inches of it everywhere!  It was BEAUTIFUL!It stayed around long enough for a good 3 hours of playing in the morning and a wonderful warm pumpkin pancake breakfast to go with it.  

 

The best part of the morning was waking Joshua up.  We were celebrating his birthday that day and so we took him over the window upstairs and said look Joshua, it’s snowing.  He got a huge smile on his face and screamed, “It’s my Birthday, and It’s Christmas!”  He was so excited that he got Christmas for his birthday, it was just precious, one of those moments this mama will never forget!

Speaking of Birthday’s this farm has already seen 3 of them in our family and my 2 baby boys are now 3 and 4.  It’s hard to believe.  I have some major baby-itis going on since this is the first time in 7 years I don’t have a baby on my hip.

I have to tell you though that these boys bring me to tears regularly like stirring the soup and weeping in the kitchen while cooking dinner because they are just precious to my heart when they love each other!  They are the best of buds and pretty much inseparable.  Nothing is complete until it is shared with the other.  They really are like twins, with their own little games and secret sayings.  Right now as I type they are tearing around the living room on little push cars running into each other at full speed squealing in delight.  It’s in these moments that I thank the Lord for adoption.  We would have missed these moments had we not fought through the battle for 3 years.  These boys would have missed their best friend and all this LOVE would have never been.  Don’t get me wrong, it is hard and many days it can be an uphill battle, but it is SO WORTH IT. These boys are proof that every moment, every tear, every extra task, it is ALL worth it for LOVE!

 

Blessings to each of you and see you again next week!

 

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Fall on the Farm and the “Farm Fridays” Post Start Tomorrow!

 

It’s our first fall on the farm and we can’t get enough of all the colors everywhere!  It is just such a gift to wake up to such beauty each day and we wanted to share a little of it with you!  We are also excited to announce our new plan for “Farm Fridays”.  We have been searching for a way to post more updates on farm stuff – to keep all those who live near and far up to date on the happenings here.  So each Friday we hope to post farm updates so you can stay in the loop!  We have lots going on here, from wood chips, to snow in November?!?, to bug infestations, to chicken coop building, to very sore backs and tired arms.  As we fall into bed each night we laugh at how LITTLE we did before we moved here!  Life on the land is lots of good, hard work!  We praise God for it and look forward to sharing much of it with you!

The driveway

in the back

on the lake

I just love acorns and we have SO many here and all different kinds, colors, shapes, and sizes. You know acorn crafts have been abounding!

Going on an acorn hunt

Happy Fall Yall!

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A Response to Halloween: It’s not the What but the Why that moves the Heart of God

As I sunk down in my morning chair with my hot cup in hand and started to discuss the plans of the day with my new farmer man, my mind began to fill with the questions of what to do tonight.  Although I do not like Halloween I am not absent from the pressures of how and what to do with my kids on nights like these.  What stance do we take, and how does that play out in the actions of life?  Do we participate in the trick or treating, do we find a fall festival to attend, how about trunk or treat, or maybe we should just hold up in our country house and pray for all the sinners out there… :o)

And then he said it, amidst the wringing of my hands and not wanting to deprive my kids -but wanting more to please my Christ, like a breath of fresh air it came… “Doing anything out of pressure, or fitting in, or obligation is senseless.  I am pretty sure the kids in Africa will not be worrying tonight about what they get to dress up in or if they will get any candy.”…

Perpective

It blew in over my heart like a gentle familiar breeze and the Lord began to speak…

It’s not about what we choose to do or not to do tonight that matters most.  The Lord of Hosts is undaunted and unbothered by the silly ghosts and goblin bit.  Because truth is, He sees the real thing and knows that though they are foe, they have long been defeated.  He isn’t angry or put off by His sweet children dressing up in make believe and overindulging in a little sweet treat one night out of the year.

But if we are His, I mean truly a people of God, then we have to have His heart today and every day for that matter.  We have to be looking through the temporary world view that surrounds into the heart of God so that we can minister to the heart of man.  We have to see past what serves us best and look to how we can serve.

This is going to look different for different people.  It may mean being the best house on the block with an open door so that you can open a heart to love.  It may mean dressing children up as salt and light and making what they wear something that shines His light for all to see.  It may mean spending a quiet evening at home ministering to your family, or gathering together to praise the Lord on a night when so many are filling the streets with the adoration of things other than Him.

For us, it is going to mean brownies and praise music and making a gift for our sponsor children to put in the mail because they don’t have a choice of what they get to do tonight. Just like every other night their choice is negated by their need to survive.  So we will gather and bless those who can’t ring a bell with light hearts because life can be heavier than we will ever know.

Whatever you choose to do tonight, we, as His people should shine bright.  We should pierce the darkness not with a spear of judgement and a gavel of division, but it should be our love that illuminates the dark of night.  As a mom I want to raise children who are not consumed with the traditions and the culture of men, but are caught up in the passionate pursuit of the Lord and His heart.  As a daughter of the King I want to be as close to His heart as I can be.  It is my privilege to partner with Him today as I seek to love and look like Him in an ever darkening world.  So go forth in Him today as light remembering that it is not WHAT you do that matters most, but WHY you are doing it.  As we seek to honor Him in ALL that we do, we will become a people of God whom He can move through- entrusting us with His power, might, and peace.

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A Song for our Kids

As I got the last of the four kids down for the night and finished the last of the songs, tickles, and prayers I heard the Lord whisper “write” into my heart.  As each of our children were given to me so was a song for them.  Some I sing every night and some only now and then but each is unique and special …

Our children need a benediction in their lives, they need something to reach for and then when they are still too far off to grasp it, they need to be lifted higher than their hearts and hands can.  They need love to sing over them to remind their hearts how wildly amazing they have been made and even more so, will become.  The world will dish out the “can’ts” and “won’ts” and “will never be’s” faster than they can catch them and so as moms, as disciple makers, our benediction over our kids needs to be louder and even more consistent, filling up and overflowing into all those undeserving moments, the ones you would much rather scream into than bless.

In our home I sing.  We sing praise songs and scripture and we worship together dancing around and being silly while we work and play.  But I also sing to my kids their own songs. Songs that the Lord gave me for each one of them when they were young.  I don’t read music and I certainly have never written a tune, but I can remember sitting on the couch when my Caleb was only a few weeks old just humming along and there it was, a melody that came to me over and over again.  And then words started flowing into my mind.  And as the first line came I asked Him for another.  I wanted a song that was His, not “This little light of mine” or “Jesus loves me” but a song my boy could grow into, that spoke to his potential and worth, written by the Giver of life.  I wanted it because this little gift was colicky and being a mom was harder than I thought.  I was knee-deep in tears and being buried alive by postpartum depression and I needed a sweet benediction over my boy that was hope and vision helping me see past the newborn blur.  I probably needed it more that day than he did, but God in His mercy knit his song into my heart and the first time I sang it to him it was seared into me.  I could sing it in the wee hours of the morning pacing the halls with him in my arms, I was bleary eyed and couldn’t remember my own name but that song came forth each time with power and clarity, it was His song and He had written it into my heart.

After that, with the arrival of each child, I have prayed for a song and He has faithfully answered my prayers.  Some came quickly and others I had to wait months for.  They are all different, notes written on my heart alone in the dark rocking hours, some are silly and cute, and others carry the weight of glory with each word sung.  It is a gift and nothing of me, I know that full well.  It just got me thinking…

What if He has a song for each of us?  What if for every life born He sings a new song?  And what if we don’t hear those words because we never ask Him for them? What if the heavens are singing them now over our kids this very moment, songs of victory and love and belonging and truth?

He is fighting the world’s lies with truth in song but our kids aren’t hearing them because no one is singing to them in a voice they can hear.  Maybe He is waiting for you to ask Him for their song?  Maybe they are 18, or 32, or 3 days old and they need to hear their mama tell them how God sees them and sing over them with rejoicing.  Maybe they are so lost or will feel so lost that they need their song embedded deep down in their hearts so in that dark moment when they are all alone and need to hear, it will rise up from within them…the simple song their mama sang about them.  About how much God loves them and how great His plans are for them.  It is never too late to sing to your kids…  the question is will you ask Him for their song?

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Saturday Apple Picking

We spent a fun Saturday in North Carolina picking apples with friends at Sky Top Orchard.  Being in the mountains always recharges my soul, they declare the beauty of the Lord like nothing else can.  Even the rocks cry out…

Waiting on the fence to pick apples

Ready for the picking…

Brothers

Can he not grow a second older Lord, please???

He got one!

Up, Up, Up in the trees 

footloose and fancy free

Another one for Joshy

pretty pretty… I think they should sell all apples with their leaves on 

double fisted on dad’s shoulder 

An orchard is beautiful, but an orchard in the mountains is even better

Thank goodness for a strong daddy to carry all 18lbs of apples up the hill!

Praying for a restful sabbath Saturday for each of you!

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Jesus in the Kitchen and A Few Quick Left-Over Recipies

It seems like we have just broken yet another threshold in our appetites over here.  My kids just ramped it up and I am noticing that my usual pot of whatever is not stretching as far.  I am having to double recipes and then it is ALL GONE at the dinner table and my oldest is only 7!

So I have coined a new term, it is called Food Paralysis, and I have it!  I break out in a cold sweat at the grocery store, I have a mini panick attack at the thought of a whole week of meal planning, I stare aimlessly into my pantry at random times throughout the day and then just walk away because I got nothin’.  I am sure that I am going to need counseling soon because seriously – it can be rough!  I joke, but when you are trying to feed a large growing family HEALTHY non processed meals, that everyone will at least at a portion of without having to make three different meals for four different people it can put you into quite a tizzy.  I am LIVING in my kitchen… but this is good.

It is good, and right, and a lost art.  When we feed our family we are filling them up with more than just bread, we can offer them the bread of life.  We can become servants in the kitchen by pouring out what we have, our time, our creativity, our intention to nourish them, to grow them, to love them.  Really each meal is the opportunity for a gift to be given and a seed to be sown unto eternity.

So next time you are in the kitchen feeling the crunch… experiencing the dreaded Food Paralysis think of Jesus feeding His 5,000.  Think of how He had little and made it much so that he could feed their bellies but also touch their souls.  Think of Him reclining at the table with his beloved disciples breaking bread and sharing wisdom and love.

There is something to this food thing, and He is right there to meet us, right in the middle of our kitchens morning, noon, and night.  We just have to be looking for Him.

………………………….

In the spirit of stretching our meals around here I am sharing 2 of my left over recipes, things I make with what we have left over or lying around that needs to be used up. Simple, easy, and good for their bellies…  (Bare with me I am not so much of a measuring girl or a recipe writer so I will do my best!)

Apple Cinnamon Morning Rice:

Whenever I make rice for dinner I double the amount so we can have the rest for breakfast.

Ingredients: Left over rice, Almond milk, Organic half and half or heavy cream, a pinch of salt, maple syrup, an apple cored and chopped, raisins and/or pecans

Directions:

Add cooked rice to a pot on medium heat. Pour in some almond milk enough to make it a little soupy and a splash of organic half and half (or heavy cream). Stir until it is an oatmeal like consistency then add the cinnamon, pinch of salt, chopped up apples, raisins, pecans, and maple syrup to taste.

Yum!

Dinner Time Veggie Frittata:

This is a dinner favorite around here.

Ingredients: a dozen eggs, diary of your choice, whatever veggies you have on hand, and whatever kind of cheese you like our favorite is a combo of mozzarella and parmesan.

Directions:  Saute whatever veggies you have on hand in a skillet on medium heat in a little olive oil or butter.  My base is always onions, garlic, and spinach or kale, and then I add whatever extras I have on hand.  Tonight it was chopped up asparagus and tomato.  In a separate bowl beat your dozen eggs and add a good splash (about 4 tbls) of heavy cream or milk of your choice and salt and pepper to taste.  Grate your cheeses (about 1 – 1 1/2 cup or so) and add to egg mixture and then add your veggie mixture too.  Pour into a greased 9×13 casserole dish and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

That’s it.  I slice it into squares and then serve it with spelt berry muffins and whatever fruit I have on hand.

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I’m Back! We’ve Moved, and Welcome to the Farm!

Hello out there!

I. Am. Back.

The question is, are you?

It has been a while, ok more like 6 months, since I blogged and while it is not the suggested method to drop out of blog world right when community begins to happen, I just had no other choice as things around here reached a pivotal point (more like defcon 5).  I had no extra time for anything other than keeping up with my family.  Family first and sometimes being simply home, is just that… simply…home. You have missed a bunch in the past months so let me give you the quick catch up / run down…

First we lost our Pa Pa and my Daddy a few months ago to liver failure after a life long battle with alcoholism.  I say lost, but certainly he is not lost, in fact I would say he is finally found and with the Lord…free.  Hard for us, and so sad to walk through.  Still hard some days, I am sure I will share more about that in the coming days…

Second we wrapped up school and still have yet to start our new school year because we have been busy unpacking boxes so second grade and kindergarden here we come… in about a month… when I can find my curriculum and a pencil and some scissors would be nice too…

Third, we closed on not 1 but 4 houses total over the past month and now call South Carolina Home- whew it has been a long journey from which I am sure I am still suffering some post traumatic stress from…

And Last we bought a farm house in the middle of nowhere in SC and are settling into rural life on our 16 acres of land. So with out of the way… I am hoping you all come back and join our journey as we figure out God’s plan for us out here on this piece of land we now call home.  We have lots of big plans but right now are just trying to unpack the mountain of boxes that loom in our garage.  There are days I love it out here and there are days I don’t feel so cut out for farm life and just want to go back home.  Like today when the kids found the baby kitten they had named “little puddin” dead next to our back porch and out of all four kids I was the one to burst into tears… yea that’s me tough girl, right? So without further ado here is a little welcome to the farm photo tour for you.  The inside of the house will come with time and when I actually hang the first thing on the wall you guys will be the first to hear about it!  Looking forward to sharing it all with you… Carrie

The  Farm House

A view through the trees

The long winding driveway, dispite it’s bumpy ride probablly my most favorite part of the new homestead

Our side pasture

The big trucks drilling our soon to be well. Bye bye brown water.

 

A few of our watermelons and cantaloupes that we have been enjoying around the table

One of the still alive wild kitty cats that call our porch home too. All 8 of them are beautiful to look at and help with mice control but they won’t let us get too close.

The boot line up. We have officially traded in the flops for more appropriate footwear for the farm.

Going fishing with Dad at our little lake.

A misty morning view from the front porch

Our first wild flower bouquet the kids and I made.

It’s good to be back and I hope to hear from you soon!

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Welcoming Your Weakness: with a free printable

Weakness isn’t something that is embraced, rather it is something we avoid, strive to outgrow, or even cover up if necessary.  At best we are taught to grow spiritually in Christ which will make us strong and at worst we are encouraged to fake it until we make it.  In fact, the body of Christ has bought into the lie too, filling Sunday morning pulpits and bookshelves across America with the self-help gospel.  Read the bible and apply it to your life and you will become strong, like a tree planted with deep roots… unshakable.

If that is true, if we can read His word and apply it as some sort of fix to our human condition, why isn’t it working better?  Why is the world full of tired and overwhelmed Christians generally defeated before their feet hit the floor?

It’s because we run FROM weakness rather than TO it.

We would rather have the drive through Gospel than come face to face with our own frailty.  We would rather pull up in our own comfortable spot, request from the menu what we crave, and get a fast fix for our ailments- at least for the moment.  No matter that in 20 minutes we will be starving again – famished for actual nutrition – and need to make another pit stop, where most likely true satisfaction and fulfillment will not be offered because those aren’t offered on the dollar menu of faith.

So we find ourselves on the constant quest to out run our weaknesses, to “ARRIVE” in some form or fashion.  We formulate plans, and have quiet times, and join yet another bible study group all in the hope of fixing what ails us.  And when once again we are face to face with the reality of our lack, our inability to produce anything beautiful, we put on a smile and hope to God no one notices what a fraud we really are.

Self help in true relationship with Christ doesn’t even exist, it can’t because we all, like sheep have gone astray, each of us to OUR OWN WAY.  Sheep can’t help themselves.  Even at our best attempt, our works, the best most spiritual ones, are like filthy rags.  There is not one righteous, not. even. one.

So where does that leave us?

It leaves us hopeless and in need of a Savior.   But not just a savior who can save us from hell, but one that can save us from ourselves.

Our weakness is HIS strength, it’s His opening, His invitation, and our good.  If He fixed us and we became better, stronger, more able to live apart from Him, we would do just that, live apart from Him.  But that is the point, we are looking for fixing so we can “get on with OUR life” and He is looking for relationship.  We want a means to self sufficiency and He, He just wants us.

Our weakness, when we welcome it, can be the very thing that gives us God.  It can be the daily, moment by moment reminder of our deep and desperate need for Him.  It can be the one thing that we thank God for, because it is the one thing that keeps us needy, dependent, and His.

I wish as a body we celebrated it more.  Celebrated our complete lack like Paul did with the believers at Corinth when he said, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Cor 2:2-5

It is not in our weakness He makes US strong, NO!  It is in our weakness HE IS MADE STRONG!

When will we realize that the only good in our life will ALWAYS come from Him?  It is not that I can gain wisdom and knowledge and become stronger and better and more able to stand on my own two feet.  That, in fact, is a false gospel.  Because truly the more wisdom I gain, the more I know my Savior, the more I see truth, the more I see how sinful I am and the greater my need of Him becomes.

The gospel of truth is my daily dependance on Him for EVERYTHING, and then in return, my glorification of Him at every victory in my life!  That I would boast in nothing but the cross and Him crucified!

So can we welcome our weaknesses and stop hiding them?  Can we welcome them as our door of dependance and the key to our daddy’s heart?  Can we celebrate the fact that we are all equally broken and our only victory will be in direct proportion to our reliance on Him?  Can we stop the quest for self help that will lead to self sufficiency? Because self-help will only take us down the path of pride and destruction.

Let us not deceive ourselves into thinking that we should aim to “have it all together” or that anyone we know has such a life, because in truth only the One who makes it all, can and has the power to, hold it all together.  Let’s stop competing for the title of the best charade and let us encourage one another in our weakness.  Let us not be afriad to live in the truth of our brokenness and deep need.  Because that is what makes us His!  Our broken need opens the door for our dependance on Him and that should be our goal and aim…More of Him.

“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but ONLY God, who makes all things grow.” 1 Cor 3:7

Download the free printable here.

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An overdue update…

Life. is. crazy.  I don’t know of a better way to recap the past few months other than that!  Here is a quick picture rundown of the highlights.  There has been an adoption (finally!), Disney, a welcome home, Christmas, a birthday, and lots of other stuff going on around here.  One of our newest crazy life decisions is doing a Whole 30 and then moving onto a Paleo eating lifestyle.  Wow, talk about throwing me for a loop, it has been HARD!  More about my break-up with grains and sugar and our new life to come, it has been 5 weeks and I still feel like I am swimming in the deep end and need a raft!  But at least I haven’t drowned yet, right?

Ok now for the good stuff…

It is final and official, what sweet words to type- this is us with the judge.

Playing choo choo in the court house lobby after we finished the hearing- be still my heart!

We left that afternoon for a 3 day whirlwind Disney trip. Totally insane and absolutely NO sleep, but a fun memory to celebrate with the kiddos!

The best part of our trip was that I got to watch fireworks holding my boy. Three years ago when the battle began I stood in the same place without him (he was too little and frigile to bring along with us that day). I cried and cried knowing what we were facing. That night I told God that the next time I saw fireworks I wanted it to be with my boy in my arms- I pleaded with Him. I never imaged it would take three years, but what a joy it was, to FEEL God’s faithfulness that night, I know I don’t deserve an ounce of it, but I am so thankful He gives it to us anyway. Praise be to God!

On Christmas eve we got to welcome home darling Jonathan from Uganda and celebrate with his forever family, what a great way to celebrate Christmas! 

Here he is, home in daddy’s arms, SO SWEET! 

MG had a birthday, and turned 5. She was all excited to dress up for her dinner out! 

Birthday kisses from brother…

and Daddy… she is one lucky girl!

Ok, now that I am caught up it’s onto figure out what is for dinner.  Blessings to each of you! Carrie

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Facebook vs. The Book: A Personal Inventory

If you added up all the moments this last week that I spent on Facebook, ALL of them, even the just responding to messages or glancing at an update on my phone- they would exceed the amount of time I spent reading God’s Word.

There.  I said it.  It is not pretty, and it is 100 % convicting. But, I felt led to share it because I would guess it is the same for many of you.

If I am honest I think it boils down to 3 key factors, at least for me it does… connection, worth, and significance, and where I find these 3 things.  Or at least where I think I will find them.

When I am home raising my four kids and muddling through our daily routine I long for all three of those – desperately.  And in my immediate lack I turn to Facebook, or email, or other’s blogs looking for it.  I go seeking out a quick fix if you will.  A new picture on Facebook or a message from a friend.  I look to see what some of my favorite blog friends are up to.  And while none of this is wrong or bad, it just fills in the space because Facebook, blogs, emails, and twitter can’t bring me TRUE LASTING connection, worth, or significance.

Sure they can squelch that immediate desire, but then it just leaves me hungry for more. And then what happens next is astonishing.  My quick fix quickly turns against me flipping the tables into a deeper need that turns to an ache and then the temptation to feel sorry for myself takes over.

How many times have I been out there on my computer looking really just to pass the next 10 minutes or honestly seeking to connect with a particular friend when all of a sudden I am hit by deep feelings of inadequacy.  The comparison game begins and what looks on Facebook or some blog to be a flawless life begins to erode my own sense of self-worth.  Even though I know what I see isn’t the whole story, it still creeps in… and I am left with feelings of doubt and lack.  Like everyone else is doing this or that and everyone else’s kids are this and that…. it could go on and on.  Because when I go to social media looking to be filled, I often end up getting filled up with something I wasn’t looking for.

For me, my computer can be a great tool for ministry but it can also be a total time waster if I am not careful.  This is not an antisocial media post, because social media can be used for so many life-giving things and has its place in life.  But for me the question is what place am I giving it?  Do I flip open my screen before I flip open the Word each morning?  When I have a moment of quiet time am I spending it with the ONLY one who can REALLY fill me up, or am I squandering my time looking for a counter fit?

The Book, God’s Word, is the only true source of life.  And when I invest my spare moments in it rather in at my computer than I am in less danger of getting lost on Facebook, or scrolling through twitter to only come away feeling bad about myself or comparing my family to someone else’s family who looks awfully perfect in their latest blog post.

We live in a Facebook world.  Facebook, Twitter, blogging, the internet, I mean whatever you want to call it, it is not a world of quiet book reading and spending time in solitude.  It is fast paced and instant.  And God is, well, not.

And because of that, because I am used to instant feel better fixes, I find that I have to force myself – discipline myself, to choose HIM.  It is much easier to crack open my screen and loose the next 10 minutes looking at everyone else’s life.  In fact it may even feel better for a time, because lets face it, when you spend your time looking at others that is less time you have to think about yourself.  And escape can feel good.

BUT. When I choose Him, He DOES fill me up.  Not the instant, immediate gratification kind of filling.  More of the stick with you forever kind.  He slowly and lovingly pours Himself into me, shaping me, molding me, speaking hope and life to my weary places.

When I invest my time in His book, it NEVER returns void.  And that is a promise I can bank on.  Such a better investment of my time than scrolling through endless pages on Facebook or running to grab the phone to post the latest cool thing we are up to.  And when I am filled up and living for His approval, not the approval and validation my list of Facebook’s friends or blog readers, I am free to use this world and all that is in it for His glory.  So I can pop into Facebook and encourage a friend without getting sucked into it.  I can share something God has laid on my heart here on my blog without being driven by how many people will read it or how many followers I have.

In the end when I find connection and worth and significance in Him, than the rest will fall into place.  Because He will be leading me.  It is just that I, need to be purposeful about seeking it from the right source.  Going to where the water is living rather than searching through dry wells.  We all have the desire to matter, to make our mark, to be important.  And in Christ and to Christ we ALL ALREADY DO.  We matter to Him and that should feel better than a thousand strokes of the “like” button.

Will you join me this year and consider taking some of the time you give to social media, blogging, or emails and putting into Him this year?  Going to The Book BEFORE you hit Facebook or type that email?  To invest where the promised return is more than 100 fold?

I promise you, you won’t be disappointed, for His well never runs dry…

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