Friday, October 24, 2014

Fabulous Friday Feature-Bethany Jett




Today I welcome author: 
Bethany Jett


To win a copy
of 
The Cinderella Rule

Scroll to the end of the post 
to see how to get your copy.



Bethany has such a fun spirit and is dedicated to her calling.  I asked Bethany to share with us how God has led her on her writing journey. This is what she said:


Fairy God-the-Father Wishes


I sobbed in front of the open pink trunk I’d stolen borrowed from my sister. The dinged silver edges and worn interior matched the beating I’d verbally given myself. The cold kitchen tile seeped through my thin pajamas. With muster, I kicked the side of the case.

I needed to quit crying.

I needed to buck up.

I needed a shower.

“God—answer me,” I cried in my head…not wanting to distract my toddlers who were happily ignoring me with Legos. “I’m in the depths of despair.”

When you start quoting Anne of Green Gables in your prayers, there may be a problem.

My quest for fulfillment wove through three beautiful baby boys, a husband I adored, his youth ministry that I lived vicariously through him as a sponsor, an eight-year stint in one direct sales company and a two-year stretch in another.

I was proudly a WAHM – Work at Home Mom – but somehow it wasn’t enough, and that left gaping ugly guilt holes in my heart.

I’d waited for answers—searching for what God wanted from me.

Desperate to stretch my brain and implement our income, my husband and I made the heart-wrenching bittersweet decision that I would go back to work full-time…for a short while.

The temp agency placed me quickly, and while I enjoyed recognition for my own work, slipping out of the house so as to not wake sleeping babies and occasionally dragging myself in after an evening direct sales presentation took its toll.

For nine long months, I watched my one-year-old grow rapidly before my eyes…my three year-old talk more and more…my five-year-old start kindergarten.

I was missing it.

That pathetic Saturday morning on the kitchen floor was the last straw. I didn’t know how to pray for direction without feeling guilty, and I felt like I’d followed God’s direction in each job I’d taken.

So I wept, and let the Holy Spirit pray for me (Romans 8:26).

My sweet husband stopped short when he saw me—red-eyed, greasy-haired, pajama-heap.

“You really should start writing.” He spouted his favorite advice to me whenever in the last five years I mentioned needing something more.

I rolled my eyes as negativity swooshed through my mind.

My mom’s success with writing the previous year was hardly an achievement I could imitate. Yet, she echoed Justin. With a promise to do a preliminary edit, she gave me a virtual kiss, told me to start a blog, and to apply for a scholarship to the Florida Christian Writers Conference.

My years of experience working with teenage and college-age girls made my topic easy, and with our biggest group of girls getting ready to graduate, I started blogging the dating advice I wanted them to have access to.

I worked my full-time job.

I built my part-time direct sales business.

I applied for the scholarship.

…and got it.

Two weeks before the conference, I begin transforming the blog articles into a couple of chapters of a book. I researched proposals and how to write them. I created my bio and one sheet. I took selfie-headshots. I printed my own business cards on cardstock.

At the conference, I attended class-after-class, drinking in the advice, rules, lessons, and wisdom until my overloaded brain could hardly think. In the midst of a small campus, I felt God cupping me in His hands, and I felt peace.

Meeting with editor #1: “Send this to me, and anything else you’ve written.”

Meeting with editor #2: “This is good, but I don’t think it’s ready.” 

Meeting with editor #3: “This is really great. I want this.”

Cloud nine.

Meeting with agent #1: “I’ll send you a contract in the mail after the conference.”

Meeting with agent #2: “I’d represent you, but it seems like since you’ve got publishers interested, you really don’t need me.”

Meeting with agent #3: “Send me an email after the conference. Let’s talk.”

WHAT??????

I did what any girl would do. I called my mom.

“I made a “deal” with God,” I joked. “If I win the “Nonfiction” award, I think I should spend some time dedicated to writing. Maybe this is affirmation that you and Justin have been right…maybe I should be writing.”


I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be at exactly the time I was supposed to be there.

I didn’t win “Best Non-fiction,” yet I still felt like I had a new path laid before me. I sat in my seat as the awards continued. This was enough. I didn’t need God to prove anything to me. Who was I to even ask?

Yet there are times when God is crystal clear.

I won the $200 grand prize “Writer of the Year” award.

I signed contracts with agent #3 and editor #2 (who had originally said “no”).

I gave my two-weeks notice.

The conference was my fairy-tale ball, except instead of fairy godmothers, I have the God of the universe on my side—the Creator of life, and the Father who gave me gifts and talents and wants me to succeed for His glory.

The Cinderella Rule: a Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After published and the connections from the Florida Christian Writers Conference led to multiple writing gigs, publications, speaking engagements and a life that I’d always been afraid to dream of.

When you’re on the path that God has set for you, things click. Following God’s direction with a talent I was dismissing meant I traded in kitchen-floor-trunk-kicking-crying for coffee-filled nights and overflowing piles of laundry.

Gotta check the dryer.

National speaker Bethany Jett is an award-winning writer, whose first attempt at writing a book proposal landed her Writer of the Year at the 2012 Florida Christian Writers Conference, a contract with the MacGregor Literary Agency, and a publishing deal. Her book, The Cinderella Rule, was a finalist for the 2014 Selah Awards.

Bethany is a video contributor for ChristianMingle.com, web editor for Splickety magazine, a featured columnist with Choose NOW Ministries, and has been interviewed on radio stations nationwide and internationally. Her writing can be found in Gospel Roads magazine, SonomaChristianHome.com, ChristianityToday.com, SpiritLedWoman.com, Crosswalk.com, along with other magazines and sites.

When she’s not writing or speaking, Bethany enjoys cooking, spending time with her husband and sons, coaching cheerleading, and rooting for her favorite football team, the Florida State Seminoles.
 
Bethany blogs on girly topics, godly perspective at BethanyJett.com.

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Of all the fairytale princesses we know and love, Cinderella is the one who got it right. She knew the spell was about to break, and ran out of the castle just in time to keep her mysterious identity a secret. Prince Charming couldn't help himself! He had to pursue her, to track her down and invite her to be his queen.

The Cinderella Rule is your guide to letting your prince do the work. Whether he knows it or not, the man God has for you longs to experience the thrill of the chase . . . and that means running out of the castle before you give away all your secrets! Find out how to be a woman of mystery who lets herself be pursued, knowing you are worth every ounce of effort. The Cinderella Rule will show you how to be the queen your prince is already looking for.

Click Here to buy The Cinderella Rule


To enter the contest for a copy of 
Bethany Jett's book: "The Cinderella Rule"
leave a comment (and email address)
AND become a follower of this site, 
OR sign up to receive posts by email
if you aren't already.


International readers are invited to enter for the eBook
US may choose eBook or paperback


Winner announced on my facebook page.


Thank you, Bethany, for Joining us This Weekend!


Reader, wasn't this a fun post to read? I can see why God called Bethany to work and write for young women. Do you know any young mom's, young married women, or single young women who might benefit from Bethany's book? I remember how I struggled. My mom wasn't around and my mother-in-law didn't feel she should say anything. But I needed advice so many times. I have a feeling older moms and mom-in-laws could benefit from this as well. :)

If you don't have an answer, that's okay, just say howdy-do in the comment section. I love chatting with you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Don't forget to comment!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Childlike Question



Photo Courtesy
Kids have such a purity to their comments. The filter isn't there for them, so sometimes the words may come out harsh or too silly to be sincere.

What I love is to hear their questions. Especially when the question is blurted out while others are talking. Sure the child should have waited, but in truth, his mind is so busy, he might have forgotten what he wanted to say.

Last Wednesday, I told the story of Hannah and baby Samuel. Kids love stories about heroes and they love stories about babies. We lullabied the baby doll to sleep so I could finish the story. Their sweet young voices showed a genuine sincerity to help the baby rest. 

The hero of this story? Well, Hannah, of course. She asked God for a child, groaning from the depths of her soul. Eli, the priest mistook her sincerity for drunkenness. Hannah boldly told him about her prayer requesting a child and her promise to give the child back to God to serve Him. In faith, Hannah believed God would answer her prayer.

I told the children God spoke to Hannah and let her know He would give her a child.

A kindergarten boy who sat in the front row blurted out, "How did He do that?"

Wow! What a great question!

"Well, let's say you had a spelling test at school. You practiced with your mom at home and prayed for God to help you do your best. But when the teacher said, spell cat you couldn't remember the letters. You closed your eyes and suddenly the letter "c" popped in your head. You wrote down the "c" and closed your eyes again. Suddenly the letter "a" popped in your head. So you wrote down the letter "a" and closed your eyes again. Then the letter "t" popped in your head. You wrote down the letter "t" and looked at your work. God is the one who told you the correct letters to write."

He looked to the side as if thinking about what I said. Then twirled his fingers and said, "Oh." 

Whether he fully understood, I don't know, but I hope he keeps asking questions.

God LOVES when we ask questions. He will always answer in the perfect way for us to understand. The more we ask, the more we show Him we are listening, learning, and interested in HIm.

So, let's ask some questions today. Maybe someone from our group will know the answer. Maybe God will show you the answer in another way.

Let's see. I'll start with my latest question I have been pondering. During the years David was running from Saul, he kept hidden with his band of sympathizers. This was no small group of men. What did they do with their days? They couldn't stay in one place and grow crops or Saul would have found them. What were they doing when not battling against the Israelite enemies.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Inviting Others to Our Table



Photo Courtesy

In the hotel breakfast area a young woman ate her breakfast. She stood to get a cup of coffee and saw someone. She called out to the person. 

Immediately, anyone listening could tell this woman was not a native English speaking person. Her dark brown hair, medium skin complexion, and eastern European accent made me think she might be Romanian or from some country close to there.

She used her arms to invite the person to her table. Although, I didn't hear him say anything he must have communicated "no". She didn't quit, in fact her enthusiasm bubbled. She picked up her breakfast plate and set it on a table located between them. "We come here?" She moved her arm in a circle over the table. "Big table?"

He came from around the corner carrying his laptop and books. He smiled warmly at her. The two set their materials on the table. It took a few minutes to hear what the lesson was about to be. He first mentioned a math problem, but then helped her with English pronunciation and vocabulary.

The teacher and student proceeded with their one-on-one lesson.

While watching them work I though of a setting quite the opposite. Two thousand years ago, God knew we could not go to Him to learn His ways. We all had sin. There had to be a different place for us to meet. So God sent His Son Jesus to come here. He patiently taught a godly language, godly ways, the culture of God, and so much more. He took His time and patiently used many means to communicate thoroughly and completely to each individual He taught.

For those of us who are living after Jesus' physical visit, He chose writers to record the events and words exactly as He wanted them so we too could have His instruction at any time.

Jesus smiled and laughed. He cried and was tired. He understands what we feel and longs to help those who want to learn to understand Him.

We all are like the foreign woman I saw. We all need to learn God's language in order to survive in His world. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to learn.

As I am typing this I am looking at the student and teacher. The woman put on her glasses, has her hand on her chin and is intently listening. The teacher is dramatizing sounds with his lips and drinking coffee. She looks at him as he explains. His spirit is gentle and kind. Repeating his message often.

Jesus is willing to do all of this and more for us.

Like the woman in the story above we should invite Jesus to our table.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fabulous Friday Feature-Gail Gaymer Martin




Today I welcome author: 
Gail Gaymer Martin


To win a copy
of Gail's book
Treasure of her Heart or 
By the Firefighter

Scroll to the end of the post 
to see how to get your copy.



Gail is a fellow Michigan writer. I've enjoyed getting to know Gail recently and simply had to asked her to share with us how God has led her on her writing journey. This is what she said:


The Lord's Path to Publication


I’ve learned an important lesson in my writing journey, and that is the Lord sometime has to knock me in the head before I realize what He’s trying to tell me. Perhaps you are the same kind of person. Facts have to drop into your lap and then you say, “Oh, could this be God telling me something?”

I didn’t start writing for publication until many years after I had been told I had a writing talent. My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Blackburn, wrote a note about it on my report card (and yes, I still have the card.) I’ve always written poetry as a child and then short stories, which I called novels. I created my own Nancy Drew type series with a girl named Cathy Lake and her three girlfriends. They had mysteries like the Mystery of the Rag Doll and the Mystery at Moon Lake. I still have those little notebooks too. I’m a packrat.

Later I wrote skits and plays for church and for our education staff for holiday programs, and naturally professional writing for my career as a counselor. But it wasn’t until I decided to retire from counseling and took another position as a college instructor that I began to think about writing for publication.

With my expertise in counseling and the educational credentials, I wrote parenting and teen issue articles for magazines, and for some reason found a home in Christian periodicals. From there I also added short stories and articles for Christian Sunday school papers and kids magazines. I wrote poetry for devotional booklets and devotionals.

One day, I looked at the hundreds of articles, poems, devotionals and short stories I’d sold, and I stopped cold. Could the Lord be giving me a “hint” that I should pursue my childhood dream to write books? I loved the elements of story and have always been a voracious reader.

So God finally guided me in the direction He wanted me to go, and I began writing fiction. I wrote about three full novels in one year, and began submitting way too early. I’m grateful I learned from rejection (or their kinder word: pass), and I looked for ways to improve my novels. In mid 1998, one year after I started writing fiction, I was asked by a publisher if I had another novel ready. Their concern was that the novel I had submitted might be too controversial for the very conservative readership. I said yes, even though I only had my very first novel that had been rejected so many times I couldn’t count. 

I worked on it for two weeks, using all the skills I had learned since I’d started the novel in 1997. I edited, cut scenes, added new scenes, made sure the dialogue moved the story forward. I sent the manuscript to them and received a phone call eleven days later that they wanted to contract the novel. I was thrilled.

That day I knew the Lord has His way and that my wants were heard but not acted on unless He saw a value in the direction I’d chosen. From that time, I always think of the Bible verse that says, “In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” I still use that verse to guide me as I write. I know that my wants and hopes will only come to fruition in God’s good time and not my own.

Wishing you God’s amazing “determined steps” for your writing hopes and dreams.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Multi-award-winning novelist, Gail Gaymer Martin is the author of Christian contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction with 55 published novels and four million books in print. CBS local news listed Gail as one of the four best writers in the Detroit area. She is a cofounder of American Christian Fiction Writers where she serves on the Executive Board and a member of Advanced Speakers and Writers and Christian Authors Network. Gail is a keynote speaker at churches, civic and business organizations and enjoys presenting workshops at conferences across the U.S. She is a lifetime resident of Michigan    
You can connect with Gail at: 
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Treasures Of Her Heart, romantic mystery
A fashion-buyer, looking for a life with deeper meaning, leaves her career for a small town in northern Michigan to assist running her ailing great-aunt’s floundering antique business. Caught in a mystery while searching for her aunt’s missing fortune, she faces an investment company in pursuit of her aunt’s property. While saving her long-distance romance with her faithful friend, she struggles to escape her attraction to a smooth-talking womanizer. Can she overcome temptation, locate the fortune, find love and the truth to the treasures of her heart? Click here to Read an Excerpt and Reviews

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An Old-Fashioned Christmas, including my short novel, Yuletide Treasures

Many of us have a secret picture of Christmases past—a time when windows shimmered with lacy frost and candlelight, fireplaces kept a home warm and snug, ladies’ skirts swirled and gracefully skimmed the floor, and gentlemen were gallant and true. Experience Christmases spanning over one hundred years through nine inspiring historical romances, beautifully and economically packaged for you and all your gift-giving needs.

This collection includes Yuletide Treasures, a short novel:
Arriving at the wealthy Mandalay home in Grand Rapids, Michigan shortly before Christmas, 1875, Livy is charged with her young nephew’s safekeeping and to slip Helen Mandalay a mysterious package from Livy’s brother.  A spinster, Livy is drawn to the handsome Mandalay son, Andrew, home from the lumber camps.  But Andrew has other thoughts.  Ignoring his mother’s urging to court a woman from the church — someone like Livy, Andrew prefers more earthly woman.  Despite their attempts to oppose God’s will, Livy and Andrew are led ‘on a path they had not planned to travel.

To enter the contest for either of these books by
Gail Gaymer Martin: "Treasures of Her Heart
"By the Firefighter"
leave a comment (and email address)
AND become a follower of this site, 
OR sign up to receive posts by email
if you aren't already.


US only winners may choose Kindle or paperback
International winners will win a Kindle copy


Winner announced on my facebook page.


Thank you, Gail, for Joining us This Weekend!

Don't forget to comment!



Reader, Please leave an encouraging word for Gail in the comment section. Have you experienced the same uncertainty of what God wants you to do?

If you don't have an answer, that's okay, just say howdy-do in the comment section to enter the contest. I love chatting with you.

Thanks so much for joining our chat today.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Missing the Big Things?


Photo by Mary Vee

Walking through the Chicago O'Hara airport amused me. The terminal connecting B and C has a color show with coordinated music. It seemed to be the one place few people ran to get where they were going. 

Although the lights were over my head, the colors and sound enveloped me with the same calming effect I presume others experienced.

On the other side of this tunnel, an escalator transported travelers up one level. I felt lost and walked to the first sign for directions. 





Next to the sign was an odd piece of art, something we might see in the front of a federal building or in a modern art museum. It stood as tall as me. I shrug the meaningless shape off and continued looking for the directions I needed.

I read the sign, turned back toward the odd art piece to walk toward my gate. The farther I walked, the more the odd piece of art seemed to grow before my eyes. I looked toward the mammoth ceiling and discovered the art piece was a dinosaur. 

I'm not sure if I was more distracted, or so out of my element I didn't observe the huge dinosaur watching over the terminal.

Sometimes we become so consumed with our needs, wants, thoughts, and agendas that we miss a big picture item right in front of our nose. Thankfully, God gives us time to take a few steps away from our issue to see what is really there.

Take a few moments to consider if you are missing something that needs you more than the other details on your list. If you can't see anything, take a moment and pray. Ask God if you need to notice something, change directions, etc.

Photo by Mary Vee

Maybe you are part of the big picture that we, the other readers here, need to notice. Is there something we can pray for you? Rejoice with you?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Celebrating The Special People in Our Lives


This weekend, my big sister had her birthday. She will be reading this, and probably doesn't appreciate being called big sister any more. She actually is a smidgeon shorter than me and is slimmer.

Still, my memories mostly revolve around younger years when she was the taller one. The one I looked up to (and still do). The one I ask questions, spill my guts, rant my frustrations, and yes-when we were little fought with. 

She paved the way in schools and church. My name was not Mary but Myra's little sister. I knew where to go in our high school of 3000 students because she showed me. I knew what classes to take and not take because she first tried. I knew who to hang out with and who to stay away from. And when our school had riots and the Nation Guard came to empty the school, she was the one who was hurt, not me. 

So today, I want to honor her and let her know she is important enough to have her own name. Please pop down to the comment section and say, Happy Birthday, Myra. Then come back.

You see, God loves us even more than my sister ever has or will love me. He created each one of us and whispered our name in our parent's ear, the name He knew they would feel honors us. 

Even before we were born He knew what we would be doing today. And He cares so very much that He sent His one and only Son to die for us-to take the punishment for our sin-so that we could live forever in a gorgeous place that honor's HIs name with Him.

Today, and every day God is celebrating us. We are the special people in His life. 

God also loves when we consider one another. So...who would you like to honor? And how has this person touched your life?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fabulous Friday Feature-Jennifer Slattery





Today I welcome author: 
Jennifer Slattery


To win a copy
of 
Beyond I Do

Scroll to the end of the post 
to see how to get your copy.



Jennifer has become a sweet friend in very short time. As you read her words below, you will instantly see how God has impacted her life. What a joy to read. I asked Jennifer to share with us how God has led her on her writing journey. This is what she said:


The Dream Giver

Have you ever received a gift from someone and felt like it pointed to something greater? Or perhaps someone said something in conversation that pricked your heart in an eerie, foreboding sort of way?

In October of 2009, Dr. Art Criscoe, Senior Editor of Christ to the World Ministries, sent me a book.

One that made my knees quake. One that assured me not only of the call, but that God planned to do a great deal within me, to prepare me for that call.

I had no doubt the pruning process would be painful.

The book was titled, God Meant it For Good. By R.T. Kendall, it digs deep into the life of Joseph, exploring his deepest hurts, his worst betrayals, and the long periods of isolation he endured, reminding the reader of the bigger picture. And assuring them that, if called, God will likely do the same for them. For our good. For every dream comes with great responsibility.

Though I had no idea what lay ahead, I sensed God was moving me toward something.

Grabbing my ipod and running shoes for what I hoped to be a clarity-inducing time, I began pounding the pavement. Mile after mile, song after song, I sensed God’s Spirit stirring within me, asking me to surrender.

But surrender is excruciatingly hard when you have no idea what you’re surrendering to. I suspect this is the way it is with every call. Remember Joseph? He was given a vague, symbolic dream, one that promised purpose and divine guidance with little by way of an action plan.

And what about Abraham? God told him, “Go to the land I will show you.”

Um…okay. Where is this land, Lord?

Silence.

How long will it take me to get there?

Silence.

What about Moses, Esther, or Ruth? I could go on, but the Bible is full of people who had to answer God’s call before they fully understood what that would entail.

I imagine that’s God’s mercy, for if He showed us now all that lay ahead, we’d probably be overwhelmed to the point of paralysis. Either that or we’d become prideful, losing sight of the One who brings our God-given dreams to fruition.

Over the next five years, God pushed me, pulled me, stretched me, and squeezed me. We moved. Numerous times. My husband was sued unjustly. Five times. I lost a dear friend to brain cancer, acquired two chronic illnesses, experienced betrayals and rejection, and at times, was ready to give it all up. On more than one occasion, I argued with God over the call, asking Him to take it back.

But He wouldn’t. Rather, He reminded me of the cost—of my salvation, of my life—asking me to give it back to Him. For “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of what is planted in the soil dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”

In essence, through trials, frustrations, and set-backs, God brought me to a place of surrender.

And that, my friends, is when the dream began to unfold.


And in everything, find and maintain your surrender. Because that’s how you best connect to your Powerhouse, the Dream-giver and the lifter of your head.  

A bookstore/library-hopping/coffee drinking day
Jennifer Slattery and her writer friends:
Susan Aken and Kelly Klepfer

Jennifer Slatterywrites soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. 
Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here



You can connect with Jennifer on: 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Beyond I Do:
Released Sept. 2014

Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancĂ©. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Read a free, 36-page excerpt click here
Beyond I Do, is currently available in print and e-book format for under $10! You can find it here:  Click Here



To enter the contest for  
Jennifer Slattery's book: "Beyond I Do"
leave a comment (and email address)
AND become a follower of this site, 
OR sign up to receive posts by email
if you aren't already.


Sorry - US only


Winner announced on my facebook page.


Thank you, Jennifer, for Joining us This Weekend!

Don't forget to comment!



Reader, Jennifer leaves these last words with us: Where are you? Are you in a place of refining? If so, rejoice! For God has great plans for you, my friend. Have you just begun to sense the call? If so, set your face like flint, for a time of training is coming! Are you standing on the other side of a trial, looking back on all God has done? If so, shout His praises, thanking Him for every heartache and tear.

If you don't have an answer, that's okay, just say howdy-do in the comment section. I love chatting with you.

Thanks so much for joining our chat today.