A Letter To My Friend Seeking

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Dear Ijay, 

I am a firm believer in the need for people to unravel themselves. And this is true of every sincere person I have known.

We all get to a point where we pull things apart, sometimes by accident. In our soul and mind, bit by bit we spread all our pieces in a bid to know ourselves, to understand the ‘why’s’ without any demanding interference and this is good.

This sort of chaos unfolding is common when you have been stifled all your life. You are longing to know  – ‘Is my life being defined by what I have been conditioned to be?’, ‘Who am I really when no one is pushing me?’. So somewhere in the midst of this ruckus there arises a suffocating need to either free and continue to conform or be free and allow yourself transform, into who you truly are.

I have had to unravel this scroll of a life for myself too and I am still unravelling. Like the best kind of book with a climax and downfall every good story should have, I have gasped, laughed out loud, I’ve been shocked out of my wits!, bawled in frustration, been enveloped in cruel drowning silence. I have screamed loud enough for the quantum world to hear (into my pillow that is) and breathe a sigh of relief with my salt stained face. I have found my unfolding to be painfully beautiful in its honestly true and  deepest form.

Ijay, permit me to share with you what I have learned.

It was never my conditions that defined me, it was always who I chose to be, freedom isn’t free. After all said and done, constraint still posed an essential companion.

Knowledge begets responsibility and where knowledge is a full head, responsibility is an understanding heart that knows when and how to act.

There are truths that resonate within this stubborn blood and bone I peel away from my soul day by day. It is beyond social conditioning, unravelling this way brings me face to face with the perfection of intricate and carefully thought out design. I did not just fall out of the sky neither am I a mere miracle of Oduduwa in the sense of a tale. No.

I was formed from a spark of light in the dark watery depths of my mothers womb, where egg and sperm collide. This effect must have a cause, my perfect design daily combated by jealous imperfection screams of a perfectly covert designer.

It is why no matter how much I call myself god I have never been able to spell it with a big G. or have you?

I could never lie to the multiple layers of prickly cells underneath my skin. something of a truth has been weaved into my DNA. I cannot deny me and with this singular act of adrenal rebellion, I have learned the touch of peace.

It is cool and calm but it does not always put us at ease. When things started to change inside me, the world around seemed to align accordingly. If my heart hated it then I didn’t want it and there went my taste for addiction.

My Dear Friend, do not ever let anything stop you from unravelling. It is a necessary piece in this puzzle called life. There will be beauty and pains, you must experience fully. Unravel without the biases, without the trends, pay no mind to the hype elaborately expressed beliefs of  people (especially on social media).

Listen to the dirges of your body, those dreary songs that beg for more and lead to no end. Drown them out by listening more to the yearnings of your heart. Learn to sit on the ground, legs curled up beneath your core as you separate truth from the lies, the feelings from the facts, the assumptions from whats real. Don’t ever be afraid of this process, all of creation is on your side.

Soon you will cease to be ashamed of being naked, alone at 3am in front of the mirror. You will learn to say sweet things into your eyes because you know there is someone beautiful within, who is desperate to meet you.

In all of this Ijay,

I pray you fall. Deeply in love with the process of seeking and finding.

I pray you fly. Far above the noise of the earth.

I pray you’re unafraid. Of knowing you have a beginning and an end and maybe your end is endless.

And  if you find that you are eternal, know that it is okay to be all this and Forever.

 

With all of Heavens Love,

Msray 

 

 

 

 

 

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False Fire

” I hunger and thirst

for righteousness –
and not the things
that aren’t mine”
You must
Say it to yourself,
Over and over
Until the gnawing desire
For what is not yours
Begins to fall off your shoulders

Like old skin

Msray©

Billy Graham (1918-2018)

For six decades, the tall sturdy frame of evangelist Billy Graham graced the TV screens of living rooms the world over. His unmistakable voice boomed over the radio in cars, tool sheds and stores, and left lasting auditory memories with most who listened. The message he had was almost always the same: the Gospel, in its simplest possible form, delivered with decipherable honesty and earnest. It was this plainness in speaking, as well as in his living, that endeared him to millions across the planet.

Early Years: From Dairy Farm to Bible School

Billy- or William Franklin Graham Jr, as his parents had christened him -was born in 1918, to a dairy farming family in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was the year in which the first world war ended- but that seemed a somewhat faint and far off reality from the quiet town which the Grahams called home. Billy’s later life was spent lacing the air waves with his charming Carolinas accent; perhaps God left nothing to chance when putting together the aspects of this exceptional evangelist’s personality. Apparently not even his speech.

Graham’s parents were practising Presbyterians (his mother moreso), who attended the local denominational church with their children on Sundays. They did have regular family devotions as well; but it’s not clear that young Billy was initially stirred by any of the early exposure he had to the Christian message.

It was at a revivalist meeting that Billy Graham got converted. The year was 1934. Mordecai Ham, a travelling baptist preacher, had come into Charlotte and was holding revivalist meetings. Billy was invited to attend by one of his father’s workers, and it was there that he made the formal decision to commit his life to God. Commentators point out that his wasn’t the storybook ‘bad boy turning to Christ’ event; master Graham was no mischievous fella. But he was gripped enough by Ham’s preaching about sin and salvation, to make a life altering decision that day.

Two years later, Billy completed high school. He hadn’t been an exceptional student by any stretch of the imagination; at one point, a teacher of his had warned that he might not make it out of school. Nevertheless, he scaled this hurdle, and went on to study Theology at the Bob Jones College in Tennessee. It’s safe to say that his issues at school probably came down to an apparent nonchalance about school work on his part. After all, he was in fact a bookish lad in his own right- it’s said that he sometimes got so immersed in his reading that he seemed to grow oblivious of his own self.

The Making of an Unshackled Travelling Evangelist

Graham’s time at Bob Jones wasn’t the happiest in his life. He found the rules too stringent, and the doctrine taught and practised there rather shackling (the institution’s authorities were so strict with their students, they screened whatever correspondences came in to them, and what they sent out. Feeling stifled of real spiritual freedom, he transferred to the more relaxed (but nonetheless conservative) Florida Bible School.

His trouble with the Bob Jones College hints at what was a severely polarized church at the time. The liberal Christians, wary of the supposed threat posed by the advances in science and the secularization of society, had retreated to an understanding of the Bible as not inerrant, while racing out of their pews to embrace the ‘progressive’ world beyond their church walls. Conservative Protestants were doing the exact opposite: they stared in defiance at the liberalizing society, railed against what they believed was America’s multiplying evils, and affirmed a straight jacket literalism in their exegesis of the Bible.

But Billy was learning (perhaps not very consciously) to thread a reasonable middle path. In later years, he would come under fire from both sides of the divide: liberals would label his preaching “too simple,” and conservatives would condemn him for being unnecessarily cozy with liberal ideals.

After completing his studies at the Florida Bible School in 1939, Graham enrolled at Wheaton College, hoping to get grounded in the ministerial work he was looking to begin. There, he met Ruth McCue Bell, the grand daughter of a missionary, who would later become his wife. And it was in this period that he preached his first sermon (in a small baptist church), at the behest of an academic dean at Wheaton.

In the decade that followed, Graham briefly pastored a church, worked with a Christian youth organization, and oversaw an alliance of Christian schools. It was at the end of this time that he turned towards itinerant evangelism.

The Start of a Remarkable Ministry

Chroniclers of Graham’s long life point to his visit to California in the early 1950s as the time in which he began to grow in prominence. He had been invited by a Christian organization, Christ for Greater Los Angeles, to preach in their city. When he did begin to deliver sermons there, his simple, earnest message drew people to his meetings. Secular historians say it was down to his charisma; many who were in the crowds insist that it was more the compelling nature of his sermons that brought the masses to the large meeting tents.

Some have said that his popularity was helped by local media’s favourable coverage of his crusades, which was in turn the result of his having admirers in the media circles, and his vocal opposition to communism. In a world increasingly torn between Communism (and its associations with militant atheism) and capitalism (cast as allowing for the freedom of religious observances), Graham’s condemnation of the former was sure to endear him to the US’s anti-communist elite and common people.

While it’s reasonable to view his preaching within the historical context in which it took place, we would be rewriting history if we gave it credit for Graham’s success at bringing people to Christ. The single most important factor in the success of his ministry was his dedication to the ‘total Gospel’, and its effectiveness, shown in the transformed lives of those who embraced the message. Besides this, it’s hard to explain how an increasingly skeptical Western society (one in which ‘theologians’ proclaimed that God was dead) would turn out millions of people to hear a preacher repeat the old fashioned gospel?

Going Global

In time, the crowds at the meetings grew so large, and the work of organizing such gatherings became so complex, that Graham and his friends decided to incorporate the ministry. They named it the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).

With wider media coverage and a more sophisticated media structure, Graham was able to reach other parts of the United States. Millions more were ministered to, and the conversions numbered in the hundreds of thousands. By 1952, the BGEA made its first landing in the United Kingdom.

It was in England, where the state of religion was represented by a staunchly liberal church, that Billy Graham’s international evangelism truly began. Many thought he would not be nearly as well received there; the Brits were supposed to be more measured, prim and proper, not given to the outward expression of emotions and overly simplistic teachings that characterized the American evangelist’s crusades. But they were wrong. After initial opposition by officials within the Church of England, Graham did finally set foot in the UK. And the crowds were just as big (and emotive) as the ones in the United States.

By the time he delivered his final sermon in 2005, Billy Graham had preached to over 215 million people across the world. He was a known bearer of the gospel, recognized for the way in which he was able to persuade his audiences with it. Between his going global and retiring in the mid 2000s, he had touched every inhabited continent of the world with his message. Thanks to his efforts, many accepted Jesus as their saviour.

An Uncommon Man’s Legacy

Graham’s influence stretched over the entire spectrum of human endevour. He was friends with (and counselor to) heads of state, from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush. It’s reported that he had a good relationship with the Queen of England, Elizabeth II. He was also known to have spoken out against dehumanizing the underprivileged, including Black South Africans who were oppressed under that country’s White minority rule for the greater part of the 20th century.

It’s hard to exaggerate Graham’s impact on the Church’s approach to evangelism. His organized, media savvy organization helped take the Gospel farther than most had managed up until his time. His preaching, which emphasized mere (basic) Christianity, became a template for others who came after him.

Billy Graham passed on in February 2018. The world- or much of it -eulogized him. Countless words were spoken of his voice and looks, but also of his humility, faith and love. It’s certain that the man himself would have wanted to be remembered simply as a servant of Jesus, who put the resources of the age to good use in making the truth of God known to all people.

Ikenna Nwachukwu ©2019

Glimpse Of Glory: The Forever

As I sank deeper and deeper into sleep, awakening was a bright vortex beyond my reach. I screamed as I fell but my voice wouldn’t come out. I looked down and I saw their eyes huge and sinister now,  a million and one hands stretched out to grab me “No please let me go”, all I heard was laughter, screeching loud laughter, then voices, they wouldn’t stop speaking.

I could hear them all at once

you are of the grave, of this grave you are!”,

“who are you?”, I tried to make out the words but nothing.  I was limp, a ball of lead , noodles for limbs, I could sense my heart beat weaken, it switched from a steady thump thump to a silent thud and then a restless ease.  In that moment I stopped breathing.

Have you ever been in that place where your dreams are more desirable than the nightmare you’re  living? Well I was there, its called Death.

     I sank into oblivion, I know this because the voices, they grew distant as I got sucked into a whirlpool of memories.  Floating through the uneasy swirl I saw my mother. Her beautiful skin soft and sweet against the golden rays of sun.

I stretched my mutilated limbs to touch her but my limbs passed through the mist of floating swirls, a teardrop left my eye and floated towards another memory of her, the dull calm sunk me deeper into folds of empty unknown, until slowly, steadily, I let go.

***

“….and oh the joy that floods my soul, something happened, now I know He touched me and made me whole…”

It was the chirping of a blue robin perched on a stalk that woke me up, my crusty eyes struggling to adjust to the light that pierced into my cold flesh warming me sweetly… the sun!
I smiled as I rubbed a moist palm over my face, I burst out laughing! hands! I had hands! my joy could not be spoken in words.
I wriggled my toes as I stretched myself towards the sky to take in the full beauty of the morning,
Satisfied with the feel of the soil, dug deep between my toes.

Such bliss, such glory.

————————————-

~Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it is alone.~

To Be Passed On.

Msray
© 2018

GRAVE: The Begining

The day I died, was the day I went to prison.

My life had just begun, or so I believed.  It was shocking to me when I found out that i’d be serving time, being me, my obvious crime.

The cell had black grainy walls, tightly compact . Grains below, grains above, I could not see the sun, I could not see the clouds, my cell was very dark.

The grainy walls were porous. From time to time food and water were passed down to me though the narrow holes.

I spent my first days looking up, I was scared and confused.

Why wasn’t I enough? why was I here? who keeps feeding me? where is my mother?

Day after day the cell walls grew tight around me. I could not push anymore! wet faced, and exhausted from trying, I looked on, feeling my hope’s of freedom ebb away.

” this might just be my destiny, maybe I should wait and see,” I thought to myself. Days passed.

I know this because I steadily watched the transitions of night and day through the cracks in my wall.

I could hear crickets outside. One time I tried to whisper to someone lurking around the walls, I was very hot and I longed to feel the wind on my skin, to feel the light of the sun deep in my pores, so I whispered and I waited but no one came.

One day, I sat in my cell and looked around, I never really noticed those grainy walls, they seemed to have faces with shut eyes, they were sleeping.

Horrified, I ran to the middle of the cell and starred at the walls around me, all sleeping faces, then as if on cue they began to wake up, one right after the other, yawning and clicking their lips in reckless abandon.

They seemed calm, their eyes shone in unison,

”Look Lads One of Us!”, they were excited. I couldn’t understand this because I knew where I had come from, I was not  one of them,

”My skin is fair like the morning sun and my eyes bright as crystal waters, I am nothing like you!”, I replied with borrowed confidence from a lender I could not fathom.

They all starred in amazement, sheer mockery.

”You? of the sun? then what in Earth! are you doing down here?!”, they stressed the word Eaarrth, as though it was a hidden joke among themselves and burst out laughing. Their voice was loud and eery, like metal scratching on metal surface. It was horrifying, I couldn’t take it. I wanted to cover my ears but I couldn’t , it was only then I noticed I had no hands.

”Look at him, he thinks he is fairer than us, little does he know that he is of the dust  and back to the dust he must return, silly boy” they spoke as one, yet it seemed as though they thought differently, it was the most unusual conversation I had ever experienced,

”I am not one of you! I am only here for a time and I will be out just as I came!’. I tried a second time, But their cackling held me down like strong arms placed on feeble shoulders,

” Look at yourself before you claim to be distinguished, before you argue with eyes that really see you for what you are…”

I listened to them, for the first time in the cell I looked down, down from the opening, down from the walls, down at myself, I was brown, like them. A pool of tears formed underneath my eyes and stung my throat,

”No! this isn’t possible, I have always been fair like the morning sun”, my tears fell in uneven streaks leaving trails of despair on my now decaying cheeks, ”I am not one of you”, I said in limp defeat as I sat on the ground, and cried bitterly.

This time they said nothing, they simply watched me, countenance tranquil, a knowing smile on their faces I could feel it. They had me where they wanted me. They had me in defeat, But they never said a thing, they simply stayed still watching me sink. Soon after, I grew weary, eyes sore, soul torn I did what I hadn’t done before,

I closed my eyes and fell into deep sleep.

TO BE CONTINUED…

(13th September 2018)

Msray
© 2018

Tell Me The Truth.

“Truth is always thrown under the bus”

You see statements like this?
They are the problem with the world,
Scratch that,
they are the problem with us.

If Truth is a concept
You cant depend on it
In fact you shouldn’t
I know I can’t
first of, what is a concept?

A concept is,
“an abstract or general idea,
inferred or derived from specific instances.”

I don’t know that seems pretty inconsistent if you ask me.

If truth is merely abstract/ general ideas inferred. ( conclusions drawn from logical judgements made on the basis of circumstantial evidence)
The question will be;
How many billion circumstances does it take to produce the actual ” concept of truth”?

If and when still hypothetically speaking, you find the concept of truth, from these billions of circumstances, how do we trust it or them, when its so circumstantial

Let’s make a list of circumstances in life shall we?
I’m just kidding
That’s impossible

If the entire population of the world is 6 billion (fight the figures at your own peril I’m no statistician)
It simply means we have 6 billion times thousands of thousands of possible truths per circumstance

That’s a lot of truths
not to mention scary mathematics.

That’s aeons of concepts of truth that have not yet been subject to the basics of direct observation, criticism, I don’t know, critical analysis of the circumstances perhaps but I digress

Since we can’t talk to 600 billion, let’s talk to you and me.
if I believe in the “concept of truth”, it would mean that Truth is mine to define based on my circumstance

Let’s say in a day I laugh, cry, get betrayed get robbed lose a friend, eat ice cream, win 100million on bet naija, get a free trip to Malibu,

My truth will be defined 9 times that day, based on the 9 different experiences I had.

I guess that’s enough truth concepts for one day

Because I can’t even figure out which of my Truths or your Truths can be thrown under the bus.
Especially if you didn’t have anything good happen to you in your own day.

Do you feel my Headache already?…

Truth needs to be consistent, singular, standard, absolute, solid, steady, real and beyond the dynamic influence of your shape shifting circumstance, to be of any useful help to you.

Truth has to be greater than you for your own good.

Truth has to remain consistent whether you’re experiencing bitter or sweet (And even this is subject to your tongues opinion because taste varies and sometimes perception of taste is preconditioned to other circumstances we have been exposed to. mheeen these things can be so deceptive)

Truth must have and be tested, tried, found worthy, faithful and uncompromising.

Truth should not be intimidated by our circumstances, must be; “bring it on I can take it”, “it doesn’t matter I’m in control”, ” nope you were wrong there”, “yup you did the right thing, move on now”, unashamed, unafraid, unmoved, unshakable, unstoppable, unbribable, sustainable, self sustained, willing to die to remain true.

Sound familiar?

hmmm Truth you are so real, I could almost touch you.
Not concept but Essence, you’re essential for my survival, my stability, its funny I feel like I know you.
its strange feels weird, I don’t just want to say “the truth”
I want to be true…. its personal.

Can you really deny this subconscious dialogue?
that when it comes down to Truth or Lie it gets personal,
like its not just you and the characters in your circumstance

but its
1.You
2.The Character(s)
3. The Lie &
4. Truth

In your circumstance, you should choose to follow the way of truth and even if you lose all you thought you had, eventually you’d have what’s really yours,….. peace.

“mhen I lost everything but at least I stayed true”

That right there, that’s life.

You only stay true when you look truth in the face, watch truth pierce through you, and still you accept truth.

“you’re right, I was wrong, I’m sorry”

You are not Truth, but you can accept Truth in every circumstance and stay in the image and likeness of Truth,
You can Stay/Be True.

So what is truth? I asked and why does truth feel so real and personal? ( yup I’m asking for us all)

Jesus answered;
“I am the way, the Truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me”.

That’s John 14:6 ( The Bible)

ahhh now I get it,
this is Truth
I believe.

©Msray_2018

SECRET PLACES.

Are you hiding or are you waiting?
What are you doing, when you say you’re “praying”?

When you’re quiet, what are you thinking? 

When you’re silent, what are you saying?

What is the posture of your Heart?

These are questions I ask myself. 

For you it might be the other way around.

Am I sent or am I lousy?

Do I have the message or am I just looking for attention?

Am I serving or just striving to be served one day?

The matters of the heart. Its what Christ came to fix.

When we speak grand thoughts but live horrible lives.. 

Who are we fooling when we mix with profanity?

We only become unbearable, the world is sick of hypocritical Christianity.

Its not what goes in your mouth that defiles you, its what comes out that sickens people.

Can’t you see, the matters of the heart matter allot.

There’s a huge difference between a person who knows and a person who becomes.

What’s you’re impulsive response to a not so favourable situation? What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you look at that person?

That’s your heart speaking through you, its who you are, the one we don’t necessarily see with our eyes.

” Take me to the place where I see you face to face oh Lord, All of my heart, no more in part, All of my Heart!”

The question isn’t if we get to face Holy fire the real question is, will this Fire consume you or will You let Him Purify…

“Woe is me, for I am undone”, say it to God! Not to man, you have nothing to lose before the One who sees Your Heart, the one who sees it all. 

Do you see it now? Its the posture of the Heart…
Who are you, when pressure 

comes 

Knocking…

©Msray.

Neuroplasticity: Why You Really Need To Renew Your Mind. 

​         Ever heard the saying “you are what you eat?” well its a true statement! Even as it relates to what we take into our system through all our receptive organs, what we eat through our mouths can ultimately affect our entire physical body systems. If you eat healthy and clean foods your body in all will be healthy and clean!  

If you eat unhealthy and harmful foods it will in turn show in the general function of your body, you start to get sick, feel gassy or uncomfortable and what not.

 In the same way, what we take in through our ears and eyes, words, sounds and frequencies affect our emotional, psychological and all round mental health. If you listen to discouraging and abusive words long enough you will find that you will start to change based on what you are constantly feeding on, same thing goes for when we fill our minds with what is good and noble and clean and pure and right, we will be healthy in our minds and this will eventually lead to evident changes in our body system. 

This is a known fact that people have understood from way back in time and this is why Paul in

 Romans 12: 2 said,

“Dont copy the behaviour and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think! ( or renewing your mind) Then you will know what God wants you to do and you will know how good and pleasing His Will really is.”

So basically because we are not of this world we cannot keep relics of the world around us or close to our Heart space. These relics of the world mess with our minds, actions and behaviour by altering our brain science leading to what the scriptures call “Conformity to the world”.  

So do not subject your mind to the toxic  thought patterns of myopic men who do not know your construct or have any idea of what plans God has for you rather fix your thoughts on the Ominiscient Living Word of God who made you, who knew you from the womb and has good intricately woven plans for you. 

Now I’m sure you might be wondering “what does Neuroplasticity have to do with this?” well apart from the fact that it’s a really big and smart sounding word, 😅 it is actually a very important phenomenon of the mind to look into properly. However I want us to focus on the things we keep around us as people who have been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ. 

Because of Neuroplasticity, we are often inclined to go back to or relive a moment or have nostalgic feelings from the past because of something we see around us that reminds us of where we were before. 

Now because these feeling come up does not mean that you are still a sinner or you have fallen out of righteousness no. We are made righteous by the finished work of Jesus Christ , if you are born again you have the nature of God in you and this is Righteousness so you are righteous. As a matter of fact if you did not have this nature in you, you would be comfortable in sinful and perverse thoughts. Besides Jesus knew this could happen and that’s why in

 John 17:15 He prayed for us saying,

” …I’m not asking that you take them out of the world but that you keep them safe from the evil one” 

So though we are in the world that is still very much full of all the nasties and “seeming goodies” (that destroy us). 

We have left the old life behind in true repentance because it is very possible to still live set apart and holy lives in the world even though we are not of it. 

So what do you do? proverbs 4:23 tells us this,

“above all else! Guard your heart because everything you do flows from it”

It’s simple. As much as you can, get rid of all those symbols and things that try to bring you back into that life of sin! 

If its a person of the opposite sex causing you to fall into fornication or sexting, cut the person off, if its pornography, desist from looking at profane content and try not to spend so many hours on the internet, if it’s a sugar addiction, stop taking sugary things. But don’t just stop there, replace those voids with the word of God, fastings and prayers. Allow the Holy spirit discipline you! (common you know you need that. Plus the end rewards are peace and joy! No doubt! )

Also occupy yourself with healthy things like , a hobby, take a walk, have an accountability partner.

 If its suggestive music that’s your weakness, start listening to Music that teaches you about Jesus and reinforces the understanding of the Truth of the gospel in your mind. 

One of my favourite ministers of the gospel puts it this way, 

“your brain has molded itself around your history with these objects, creating Neural networks through repetitive conditioning/ exposure to a certain outcome. Your brain snaps into these states out of habit and needs a chance to create new neural networks and be reprogrammed” 

– Steven Bancarz 

   

     It’s a deliberate thing guys. We consciously decide what to feed our minds with and the things we allow around us like music, pictures, books we read, people we listen to, they are all food to our soul and one way or the other we are either conforming to the dictates of the world or being transformed by the renewing of our minds.  

The adornments of purity and holiness of every believer can only be a reality if we choose to feed on Gods Word and allow His Holy Spirit in us not only be Righteousness in us but do righteousness through us. 

 And this involves cleaning out the trash in our cupboards and filling in our store house with the good stuff. 😊

Grace and Peace Family. 

©Msray