June 17, 2021

How to Take Dominion... The Book of James Bible Series

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Hello, Sweet Readers! I am going to start off real honest here... I have had thoughts of throwing in the towel.  I've entertained ideas to just put this whole thing on hold --or loosen my timeline... or - well, like I said, just give it up altogether!  

I've been doing this blogging gig for a long, long, LONG time... long enough to remember what it was like in its heyday! Even for non-celebrity bloggers, there was a time when there was real community and great give and take in the blogosphere.  As much as I miss that, I have always said God called me into this before I even really knew what a blog was and I was never doing it for attention or applause. At least not from you... I write for an Audience of One and He is the One who gets to boss me around and He is the One who put this series on my heart.

But the struggle is real, Y'all! Now, I know some of you are reading along because even if you don't comment, I can track the 'hits' and I know I'm not all alone here in this corner -even if it does feel like that from time to time! Again - even if I was on my own here, I am getting so much out of this study... so I push back the temptation to give up or give in, and I sit myself down in this chair and I type out Scripture and trust that if you are sitting there, reading these words, He is drawing you and teaching you and showing you Truth! So for you, and for me, and mostly for Him... I write on!

Today we are reading through James Chapter 2, verses 11-13! 




Because, if you haven't caught on yet, it's one of my favorite translations, we'll start with The Passion:

June 3, 2021

Fulfill the Royal Law of Love... The Book of James Bible Series

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Hello, Friends! I hope your Summer is kicking off with lots of exactly what you need -- whatever that may be! We're back again for another installment in our Book of James Bible Series and today we are reading through James Chapter 2, verses 8-10! 


Let's go!  We'll start with The Passion Translation Bible:

"Your calling is to fulfill the royal law of love as given to us in this Scripture: “You must love and value your neighbor as you love and value yourself!” For keeping this law is the noble way to live. But when you show prejudice you commit sin and you violate this royal law of love! For the one who attempts to keep all of the law of Moses but fails in just one point has become guilty of breaking the law in every respect!" (The Passion Translation)

While we know full well that this calling is far from easy --James spells it out for us so simply! And how much do we love the way The Passion puts it: Your calling is to fulfill the royal law of love.  

I mean...?  

May 20, 2021

The Chosen...The Book of James Bible Series

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Hello again, Sweet Readers! We are back with another installment in our Book of James Bible Series and today we are diving right into James Chapter 2, verses 5-7! 

I managed to stay on track even while on vacation so let's see if we can keep this going!

Let's go!  We'll start with JAMES 2:5-7 in The Passion Translation Bible:

"So listen carefully, my dear brothers and sisters, hasn’t God chosen the poor in the world’s eyes to be those who are rich in faith? And won’t they be the heirs of the kingdom-realm he promised to those who love him? But yet you insult and shun the poor in your efforts to impress the rich! Isn’t it the wealthy who exploit you and drag you into court? Aren’t they the very ones who blaspheme the beautiful name of the One you now belong to?" (The Passion Translation)

I think I have mentioned this before --but I so hope Y'all are watching The Chosen. It's so good!  This verse asks a question about who the chosen are. Of course, we know Jesus was THE Chosen One... and also - we are all grafted in and He has chosen each one of us to be His!  But here, James suggests that God has chosen the poor in the world's eyes to be those who are rich in faith... and who will be heirs of the Kingdom He promised to those who love him!

I love how the Passion points out that it is not just the poor --but the poor in the world's eyes. This isn't limited to the poor who are struggling with finances - but anyone the world would think of as poor or lacking. (This broadens things a bit!)  

May 6, 2021

Are We Judges Who Can’t Be Trusted? ...The Book of James Bible Series

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I really had intentions of writing other posts this year... (in addition to this Series, that is!) However, so far anyway... I'm only managing to sit in this chair to write about every two weeks!  Today, we're back for another installment in our Book of James Bible Series and we are kicking off Chapter Two!


We jump in to Chapter Two today beginning with JAMES 2:1-4! 

As usual, let's begin with The Passion Translation Bible:

"My dear brothers and sisters, fellow believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ—how could we say that we have faith in him and yet we favor one group of people above another? Suppose an influential man comes into your worship meeting wearing gold rings and expensive clothing, and also a homeless man in shabby clothes comes in. If you show special attention to the rich man in expensive clothes and say, “Here’s a seat of honor for you right up front!” but you turn and say to the poor beggar dressed in rags, “You can stand over here,” or “Sit over there on the floor in the back,” then you’ve demonstrated gross prejudice among yourselves and used evil standards of judgment!" (The Passion Translation)

I know!? You can't really say I didn't warn you ahead of time! James calls it like he sees it --or maybe, more like how HE sees it! Jesus and James, man... they're not gonna let us slide, guys! They are FOR us and they want the best for us... they want the best to flow to us and through us and -oh my goodness- how favoritism just gets in the way! 

And here's the deal: We are all guilty of it.  We all do it. 

You may be shaking your head and disagreeing with me passionately because -- ugh.... rich people!  You see... one way or another... one 'class' or --dare I even say it?-- race or gender or belief... ends up being treated as better or favored or more important than another with us humans! 

And here's the other deal: We all know it's wrong! 
Thankfully, we can also know that even though WE may do it... 
HE never does!

April 22, 2021

Real Religion... The Book of James Bible Series

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Hello again, Friends!

We are back for another installment in our Book of James Bible Series and we're wrapping up James Chapter One today! Our verses are James 1:23-27!


We wrap up Chapter One today by going over JAMES 1:23-27! 

We're starting off using The Passion Translation Bible:

"If you listen to the Word and don’t live out the message you hear, you become like the person who looks in the mirror of the Word to discover the reflection of his face in the beginning.You perceive how God sees you in the mirror of the Word, but then you go out and forget your divine origin. But those who set their gaze deeply into the perfecting law of liberty are fascinated by and respond to the truth they hear and are strengthened by it—they experience God’s blessing in all that they do!

If someone believes they have a relationship with God but fails to guard his words then his heart is drifting away and his religion is shallow and empty.

True spirituality that is pure in the eyes of our Father God is to make a difference in the lives of the orphans, and widows in their troubles, and to refuse to be corrupted by the world’s values." (The Passion Translation)

I think we are familiar with this portion of Scripture and often we sort of laugh at the thought of forgetting what we look like.  This made me think of a new 'filter' on TikTok that flips your image rather than mirroring it.  So basically it lets you see yourself the way others see you. (--only in a purely physical way, though, of course! lol!)

April 8, 2021

Poetry, Written & Fulfilled by Your Life... Continuing with our James Bible Series

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Happy Spring, Sweet Readers!

I hope you had a great Easter weekend and Spring is waking up all around and within you! We are continuing our study of the Book of James today! If you somehow stumbled your way over to this little corner of the interwebs and are 'new' here, and you'd like to read our earlier posts in this series, you can catch up by reading them HERE! (--scroll through to the bottom of that post to find the List of Linked Posts in this Series!)

We are focusing on James 1:19-22 today and this is where it starts to get hard!


Our verses today are JAMES 1:19-22! 

We're starting off using The Passion Translation Bible:

"My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry, for human anger is never a legitimate tool to promote God’s righteous purpose. So this is why we abandon everything morally impure and all forms of wicked conduct. Instead, with a sensitive spirit we absorb God’s Word, which has been implanted within our nature, for the Word of Life has power to continually deliver us. Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let his Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life!" (The Passion Translation)

You know how I keep saying that there are some hard truth verses comin' at us in James? Yeah - well, here they come.

How much better off would we be --would our culture be-- if we would just put this verse into action? 'Be quick to listen, but slow to speak.'

I mean... Right? 

And then he goes and follows that up with, 'And be slow to become angry.' --it's like he knew some things! It's like he knew that our humanness would stir us up and in the flesh we could convince ourselves that our rage was righteous.  It is not. Man, how I wish it was sometimes. However, James explains that human anger is never going to accomplish the justice and righteousness that we (think we) want!  

It's important to note here that James is, by no means, saying to do nothing... 

What he is saying is Do the Word! 

Or, as this translation puts it:

"...let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life."

March 25, 2021

Every Good and Perfect Gift... The Book of James Bible Series

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Welcome back, friends!

We are continuing our study, digging into the Book of James, verse by verse! As always, if you are 'new' here, and you'd like to read our earlier posts in this series, you can catch up by reading them HERE! (--scroll through to the bottom of that post to find the List of Linked Posts in this Series!)

We are focusing on James 1:16-18 today and this is a very familiar portion of Scripture! So, just like last time, I invite you to say a quick prayer and ask God to highlight exactly what good and perfect gift He has to give you in today's reading! (Ya see what I did there?)


Our verses today are JAMES 1:16-18! 

We're starting off using The Passion Translation Bible:

"So my friends, don’t be fooled by your own desires! Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change. God was delighted to give us birth by the truth of his infallible Word so that we would fulfill his chosen destiny for us and become the favorite ones out of all his creation!" (The Passion Translation)

Our portion of Scripture starts off with "So..." so... we should recap what was said just before this, right?  In short, in the verses before this, James told us to NOT lay blame on God whenever we are tempted or fall into sin! He explained what happens when we give in to temptation and how it turns into sin which over time leads to death! Then he goes on, "So, my friends, don't be fooled by your own desires!"

Like I said last time, It's us, guys! 
It's US, not Him! 

What IS Him... what we can accredit to Him are all the good and perfect gifts!  The actual translation of the word 'gift' can mean Legacy (--and Oh, what a legacy we have been grafted into!) and the word 'perfect' is an Aramaic word that means, “complete, wholesome, abundant, sufficient, enough, and perfect.”  

So anything --any gift-- that can fall into those categories... those come from Him!

March 11, 2021

Experience the Untold Blessings of God... The Book of James Bible Series

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Hello, Sweet Readers!

Today we continue on with our Study through the Book of James! If you'd like to read our earlier posts, you can catch up by reading them HERE! (--scroll through to the bottom of that post to find the List of Linked Posts in this Series!)

I realize this is slow going! We are simply taking a verse or two at a time, and reading it in several translations, and asking God to highlight something to each of us through the reading of this Living Word! Trust me... there are some very intense verses ahead of us --so we will be thankful to only be tackling a few lines at a time!  Today - we dig into James 1:12-15!

Maybe let's say a quick prayer on our own and ask the Father to open our eyes and our hearts and our understanding so that we can not just gain knowledge or wisdom or insight --but SO THAT we can live our faith out loud!

Let's go!


Our verses today are JAMES 1:12-15! Let's read together!

Let's dig in first, reading these verses in The Passion Translation Bible:

"If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God! When you are tempted don’t ever say, “God is tempting me,” for God is incapable of being tempted by evil and he is never the source of temptation. Instead it is each person’s own desires and thoughts that drag them into evil and lure them away into darkness. Evil desires give birth to evil actions. And when sin is fully mature it can murder you!" (The Passion Translation)

IF... IF...

"IF your faith remains strong..."

March 7, 2021

Spring is Coming... A Five Minute Friday post.

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I'm just going to jump right in... This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free-write for five minutes flat. I then add graphics and format a bit, but the actual writing stops (or at least is given an asterisk!) when my timer goes off! 
Today, our one-word prompt is: GREEN

{GO!} 

Green...

I see the prompt and immediately my mind is all over the place! It's March - so of course I think St. Patrick's Day. I just wrote our March Newsletter and talked of Luck and Blessing and that is fresh on my heart... and then Spring! Oh, Glorious Spring! It's flirting with us here in my little corner of the world -but I have to admit I am hesitant to fully believe that Winter is gone and Spring is upon us! (I hope... of course! I am ever hopeful for all that Spring brings with it!)

I calm my thoughts and take a deep breath. I remember that in this space, more than my own words --I desire to share His words... to share whatever it is that HE is wanting to say to you. So I pray... just for a few seconds (because this is Five Minute Friday, after all!) and I feel Peace wash over me and I sense His direction!

February 25, 2021

The "Prosperous Life" fades away... The Book of James Bible Series

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Hey There, Friends!

Welcome Back to our Study through the Book of James! If you've missed our first few posts, you can catch up by reading them HERE! (--scroll through to the bottom of that post to find the List of Linked Posts in this Series!)

I hope you are enjoying going through James with me ever so slowly... verse by verse! 

Let's dig into the Word and help build each other up!


Our verses today are JAMES 1:9-11! Let's read together!

Let's dig in first, reading these verses in The Passion Translation Bible:

"The believer who is poor still has reasons to boast, for he has been placed on high. But those who are rich should boast in how God has brought them low and humbled them, for all their earthly glory will one day fade away like a wildflower in the meadow. For as the scorching heat of the sun causes the petals of the wildflower to fall off and lose its appearance of beauty, so the rich in the midst of their pursuit of wealth will wither away." (The Passion Translation)

Now, this is counter-culture for SURE, right? I mean - most of the leanest times in my life where the paycheck was non-existent or just wouldn't stretch as far as we needed it to, I can promise you --I didn't feel like boasting because we had been 'placed on high.' 

Of course not! 

HOWEVER, it helps to remember this verse is talking more about how - AS BELIEVERS, we have a heavenly inheritance that we can look forward to and count on!

February 11, 2021

Empowered by Confident Faith - The Book of James Series

Welcome Back to our Book of James Series!

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Hello there, Sweet Readers!

Welcome to the third installment of our Study through the Book of James! If you missed our first couple of posts, you can catch up by reading them HERE!

As I stated last time, my hope for this series is to have interaction in the comment section... I'd love for you to read along and then share your own thoughts, insights, prayers, or questions! 

Let's dig into the Word and help build each other up!

Our verses today are JAMES 1:5-8! Let's read together!

Let's dig in first, reading these verses in The Passion Translation Bible:

"And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace. Just make sure you ask empowered by confident faith without doubting that you will receive. For the ambivalent person believes one minute and doubts the next. Being undecided makes you become like the rough seas driven and tossed by the wind. You’re up one minute and tossed down the next. When you are half-hearted and wavering it leaves you unstable (restless, disengaged). Can you really expect to receive anything from the Lord when you’re in that condition?" (The Passion Translation)

Now we know if a verse starts with "And" it may be a good idea to go back a verse or two, right?  We did just cover the previous verses, but that was a couple of weeks ago. So verse 4 reads: "And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking." and then we move on to the "And" in verse five. So as you are walking along this process of missing or lacking nothing, if you find Wisdom is still playing hard to get --simply ask for it! 

Listen... in our Western culture where we put a HIGH value on education, we tend to want the wisdom first.  

February 8, 2021

A Little Valentine Fun... a Wisdom and Love Giveaway!

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Hello, Friends!

Well - I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was reading Joyce Meyers' newest release, In Search of Wisdom, and when I was done I would post a book review and host a Giveaway!  Since we are so close to Valentine's Day as well, I thought I'd throw in a little book called Love Letter from the Heart of God


See? Wisdom and Love! 
Perfect timing!

Simply enter below for a chance to win these two books! 

February 6, 2021

Sunrise... a Five Minute Friday post.

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Here we are, on a Saturday morning... and this post right here already surpasses all of our posts in 2020! In other words... It's only February and I'm already crossing off a goal for 2021!  Maybe next week, I'll even make it over to the Twitter Party for the FMF Community! (#fmfparty). 

This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free-write for five minutes flat. I then add graphics and format a bit, but the actual writing stops (or at least is given an asterisk!) when my timer goes off! 
Today, our one-word prompt is: SUNRISE


{GO!} 

Sunrise...
I see the word prompt and I think immediately of the Hope I feel whenever I see the sunrise. (Which, to be honest, is not every day because -well, I am a fan of sleep!) But it's such a tangible glimpse of Glory and the Hope that comes with a brand new day!

As much as we love to go to the beach --(and we do!)  We are on the West Coast and mostly, we watch the Sun SET into the ocean and praise God at the sheer beauty. We rarely get up early enough to go watch it rise.  Watching the sun SET is powerful, too. Still filled with glory and satisfaction. 

God is so smart.  
How wise we would be to start and end each day,
simply receiving the gift He gives us through His creation!
"But as for me, your strength shall be my song of joy. At each and every sunrise, my lyrics of your love will fill the air! For you have been my glory-fortress, a stronghold in my day of distress." Psalm 59:16

January 28, 2021

"Invaluable Opportunities" Abound - The Book of James Series


Welcome to our Book of James Series!

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Hello there, friends!

Welcome to the second installment of our Study through the Book of James! If you missed our kick-off/introduction post a couple of weeks ago, you can read that by clicking HERE!

The plan is to post twice a month, and go through James' letter to the early church slowly, a few verses at a time, throughout this year! This book/letter is PACKED full of wisdom and challenges, so we're not going to rush our way through it or skim over the hard parts (as much as we may want to!)  

My hope for this series is that even more than with other posts, Y'all will interact in the comment section and share your own thoughts, insights, prayers, or questions! Let's dig into the Word together and help build each other up!

Today... we are simply going over James 1:1-4!

January 23, 2021

Oh, When We Long for an Easy Fix... a Five Minute Friday post.


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This year I have set a goal to write in this space more often. This is not a lofty goal... as I mentioned on January 1st, I only tapped out words here 5 or 6 times in 2020! Already - this goal has almost been met! Still... one of my favorite forms of writing here over the many years has been to participate with the Five Minute Friday community!

I have missed the free flow of a timed writing challenge --and even more so, I've missed the camaraderie of knowing we are not in this alone! Writing our heart out on a blank screen and hitting publish can feel oh so vulnerable and lonely... to be honest, I battled with that most of last year. It felt pointless... like it didn't really matter... But - it does matter! Even if I write these words and they only minister to me... they matter! So --let's get back into this routine!


This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free-write for five minutes flat. I then add graphics and format a bit, but the actual writing stops (or at least is given an asterisk!) when my timer goes off! 
Today, our one-word prompt is: FIX


{GO!} 

Fix...
I see the prompt and immediately think, "Fix it, Jesus!"
(I mean, right?

No matter what we think is broken --in ourselves, our lives, our families, marriages, churches, country, world... whatever feels or looks or IS broken... we want it fixed! 

But if we are being totally honest... sometimes we don't really want the right fix... we want the
 EASY fix!  And, I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this but... Jesus? Yeah... He fixes things the correct way - going all the way down to the root. There are no shortcuts or quick-fixes with Him.  He's in it for the long haul and He sees the WHOLE thing from every vantage point!  

He's never in a rush... 
  It's not who He is or how He operates!

So while we long for an Easy fix, He longs for a Back-to-the-Original,-Never-Been-Broken fix... He longs, as He whispered to me softly on New Years' Day, Resurrection sometimes over Restoration.

January 14, 2021

The Book of James... An Introduction to our Study



Hello, Sweet Readers!

It's time!  

As I mentioned in an earlier post (which you can read HERE) I hinted at the possibility of doing a Bible Study through the Book of James this year!  


I'm not sure how many of you joined in a couple of years ago, but we went through the Book of Colossians, verse by verse... ever so slowly, over the course of a year! It was doable (new posts twice a month!) and so powerful! So this year, we will be following the same format and digging into James. This is the book of the Bible the Lord highlighted to me on New Years Day saying it will be a vital book for the Body in 2021! (I mean - in ANY year, right? But it feels like
especially this year!) 

We will read a few verses at a time from James together and ponder the Truth and Wisdom that he lays out for us. The goal is to go slow again... to encourage some Community in the Comment section for you all to participate in as well, and to get through the entire book, a few verses at a time, by the end of the year!

In full disclosure, I am no Bible Scholar.  I mean --I love the Word and I have known Him for all of my adult life. I love to study and dig and read in many different translations... but I don't speak Greek or Arabic or Latin and, while I have studied the Bible for years and have been both a Pastor and a preacher, I don't have letters behind my name or a Bible College Degree tucked away anywhere! 

However, the goal of this series is to

January 4, 2021

When Your OneWord Revisits You... 2021

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Maybe you are not aware of the movement that is OneWord365... or maybe you are in the know and already have fully embraced your Word for 2021! I normally try to post a few times a year about my Word and let Y'all know how it is showing up for me, but 2020 was far from 'normal' and those posts just didn't get written! 

I've been doing this OneWord365 project for many years and yet, each December, I pray into what He may have for me and ask Him to lead my Word to me. (And --usually-- I argue and second-guess! It's fine. It's all part of my charm!)

My OneWord last year was... --wait for it... : GATHER!

Yeah... GATHER, you guys?! (You can't tell me God isn't funny!)
I wrote this at the beginning of 2020, regarding my OneWord:
"We are awake to possibilities... and we are opening our hearts and our hands (and our home, because --obviously!) and we're, once again, desiring to be intentional in how this OneWord shows up and shows off!"
I was intentional in the beginning of the year - and then, COVID.  

January 1, 2021

The Annual Prophetic Post for the New Year - 2021 edition!

Happy New Year, Sweet Readers!

We made it!  

Somehow we made it through the Dumpster Fire that was 2020 and, honestly, I'm sure we will find in the end, we are better for it.  But right now --well, right now, maybe it's still too soon!?

Here we are: January 1st! A Brand New Year... a Fresh New Start... and I think all of us are so ready for it! 

This has become an anticipated post around here... but it's been a tradition long before I started blogging (which was a long, long, LONG time ago! Way back before Blogs were a Thing... and then they WERE a Thing, and then they weren't a Thing but we still did them, and now they just may be becoming a Thing yet again?!) 

Anyway... long before I wrote this New Years Day post here for the public, I practiced this routine in private --and year after year, it proves to be... well, -True? Helpful? Accurate? (All of the above!? Yes!)

This is our Annual Prophetic Post for the New Year!

I always ask the Lord for a word or phrase that will speak to the Body at large prophetically over the coming year.  I also ask Him to lead me to a book in the Bible that He wants to be highlighted to us, for us, and through us, throughout the year as well.  

He is always so ready to meet with us... so ready to speak!


First - a quick look back:

I'll Do Better... Happy New Year!


I'm still here! I'm still alive and well! I'm still thinking about sitting in the chair to write --I just haven't actually sat down much to write as of late!  

***

In fact, if I'm totally honest --this post has been in my Drafts folder since July? Yep... July!? I'm not sure if I have ever blogged LESS in a year than I did through 2020.  

Seven Posts... all year long. Seven. (And one of those was a Guest Post!) 
That's not great.  
I had plans... plans to edit and publish the Bible study and a few more mini-books from the 31 Days Devotional series.  I had plans to create more --not less. I DID manage to write the monthly newsletter each month this year, so there is that! But I have missed the sitting down to tap out words.

Here's the deal... 
Here's the ONE thing I would do differently in 2020...

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