Am I a Fruity Tree?

When the girls were younger, both Peyton and McKenna preferred to sit with me in “big” church.  They were never really ones to want to go to the kid’s room where everyone their age hung out.  They never ceased to amaze after the sermon when we would discuss the pastor’s message just how much they would know and understand what had been talked about.

One Sunday, Pastor Galen spoke of Jesus cursing the fig tree (Matthew 21:18-22).  Jesus came up to the fig tree with his disciples and upon seeing that the tree was bare when it shouldn’t have been, He cursed the tree.  It withered up at once.  The disciples were shocked and from that moment, Jesus was able to speak to them on the power of faithful prayer.  

Pastor Galen expressed additional thoughts on the correlation to us living out the fruit of the Spirit and what it means to produce fruit in our walk with God.  It was rich with meaning and incredibly helpful to think about how empty our walk with God can be when we are bare and not producing fruit for the Kingdom.

On our way home, Peyton asked me if she could ask a question.  “Mommy, am I a plain tree or a fruity tree?”  At 6 years old, she was able to understand what the pastor meant in the difference between the two.  It shaped a beautiful conversation that ended with Peyton reminding herself that as a Christian she should always want to be the fruity tree and talk to her friends about Jesus.

To have the faith of a child, right?!

We sometimes think that being fruitful in our Christian life is difficult.  And don’t get me wrong.  It’s hard to handle things like patience and long-suffering.  It’s scary to talk to a random stranger about God and who He sent as a sacrifice on our behalf.  It’s demanding to think that we must die to self daily.  But isn’t that we’re meant to do?

In Colossians 1:10, Paul writes to the people and says he is constantly praying for them so that they will be filled with the knowledge of His will, “so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

I believe that if we came to God with the faith of a child, innocently wanting to just be a fruity tree for Him rather than a plain one, we would recognize we can trust God to help us be that fruity tree.  We aren’t meant to become fruit bearers by doing it on our own.  With faithful study and meditation on God’s Word, we can know that we are meant to lean on Him as well as walk with Him as we flourish and produce the fruit. 

That’s the beauty of having a relationship with Him!  We don’t have to be scared because we aren’t doing it alone.  We produce the fruit as a faithful child of the King!

How about you, dear friends?  Tell me, do you long to be a fruity tree for the Kingdom of God?!  Share with us in the comments below.

~Erin

Dog Days

Last week I had a big scare with our dog, Ruger.  Ruger is a sweet 8 year old lab who Chris has had since he was a pup.  I was home alone with him when he started acting funny.  He was opening up his mouth and leaning toward the sky like he was trying to grab something.  When he would look down, his jaw was tremoring, and then he would dig his nose into the floor for 15-20 seconds at a time.  I truly thought this loveable lug was having a stroke.  I shot off a couple of quick videos to Chris at work and then called him, begging him to watch them right away and tell me if I needed to get him to the vet ASAP.

After 2 minutes or so, Chris called back.  “He’s acting like he’s get something stuck in his nose?  Does he have something in there?”  To which I dutifully picked this dog’s nose like a newborn with a raisin up his nostril (THAT happened the week before).  Nothing.  Chris said, “Then check his throat.  I think he’s got something stuck somewhere!”  Ruger let me gently open his mouth.  In the very back, stuck between his farthest molars was the cap of a marker that he had chewed and managed to wedge in there!

That dumb dog, despite the fact he’s been trained as a duck dog and knows not to chew things, decided to enjoy an awesome plastic snack that ended up causing him pain and discomfort.  I was so grateful I called Chris and asked what he thought.  After I pulled it out, I started crying because I had truly thought that the dog was going to die on my watch!  I was glad he was ok.

As I sit and write this blog and share the story, I can think of so many biblical applications oddly enough that resonate with me and hit me in the eyes.

How about the fact that my husband knew what to look for?  He has taken the time to get to know his dog and how he acts.  He knows what a dog looks like stressed.  He took years of experience with dogs and was prepared for odd circumstances like this one.  Am I that prepared for the sneak attacks of Satan?

We should be vigilant because the Bible tells us to be!  It clearly tells us that satan isn’t just letting us be.  He roams around seeking those to devour (I Peter 5:8).  Have we trained ourselves to be ready for whatever affliction comes our way?  And the best way for us to be prepared is to fully surrender to God, be in constant prayer with Him and use our Sword–the Bible–daily!  When we have trained ourselves well, when things come up unexpectedly, we will be equipped with the proper outlook to help us.

How about that silly dog knowing he’s not supposed to be chewing things like that and yet he did it anyway?  Do I hide from sin that stupidly?!  Do I know what I am commanded to do biblically and still slink away trying to hide what I’m about to do as if God doesn’t see it or doesn’t know about it?!

I’m guilty of this more times than I can count!  I wish that I was constantly in God’s Word as much as I should be.  I wish I didn’t lose my temper and say mean or hurtful things.  I wish that my past didn’t include drunken nights and sexual immorality.  But I’ve done exactly as Ruger has done.  It looked fun.  It looked inviting.  So I took part.  Then shame takes over as I hide my behavior, knowing that what I’ve done is pure and simply sin.  The reminder of the disobedience, however, is never far away and then like a child caught with their hand in the cookie jar, or a dog caught with a marker top stuck between his teeth, our sin has found us out and God is waiting for repentance!

My prayer, Iron Porch, is twofold.  First, I pray that we are vigilant and aware of our surroundings, building up our faith with active prayer, Bible reading and worship so that we may know when we have a problem.  Second, I pray that we don’t hide in our sin.  I pray that we are so steadfast in our relationship with God that we actively pursue a sinless nature.  And when we DO sin, I pray that we are immediate in our repentance and turning away from the sin.  God is quick to forgive when we come to Him with a broken and repentant heart.

~Erin

Our Buddy, Ruger!

Patience of God

I had my grandsons this last week for five days.  I love them.  They are amazing!  Andros is 4 and Kalan is 2, and they are sincerely so smart and funny!  But they WORE. ME. OUT.  Especially Kalan!  I didn’t realize just how much they are always on the go until I watched Kalan run in circles around the island of our kitchen for almost 23 minutes.  And I’m not exaggerating; it was hysterical!  He would take a turn around, go past our dog, Ruger, say ‘Scuse me’ and keep going around and around.

I don’t know where he has the energy.  However, the one thing I noticed because he’s non-stop is that my patience would start to wear thin.  He wasn’t doing anything wrong, but when a child that’s so focused wasn’t paying attention to what I was saying, I would start to get irritated trying to rein him in.

Thank goodness for a God who is patient with us!  Over and over in the bible, it says that He is slow to anger, gracious, and loving.  And that’s even after we run around and do what we want to do without paying attention to His words and commands!

Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;” –Exodus 34:6

“But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindess and truth.” –Psalm 86:15

“’And rend your heart and not your garments.’”  Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindess and relenting of evil.” –Joel 2:13

“who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.” –1 Peter 3:20

Even when the Lord was waiting for repentance from the people in the days of Noah, or when the Israelites were complaining in the wilderness, and when Jonah ran and hid (unsuccessfully), He had patience and gave time for them to repent and to turn back to Him!  He did not just immediately get mad and cut them off.  He gave us opportunity to walk our way back to Him and His ways.

I thank God for the patience that He has for us!  I’m thankful that He’s not like us where we can fall so quickly to irritation and getting upset.  I pray that this week we can see the patience of God in His love for us and model that towards those around us.

~Erin

Sweet Kalan who loves to run me ragged!

Selfish Prayers

I was thinking about prayer a lot today.  Tomorrow, Peyton turns 18, and I’ve prayed with her every morning before school (whether she wanted to or not).  I’ve prayed for her when she’s hurting.  I’ve prayed for her when she’s had victories.  And now, my prayer changes ever so slightly as she ventures into the realm of ‘adulthood.’

Prayers in general tends to be a hot topic.  We were talking about it a few weeks ago during Table 8’s weekly Bible study.  The discussion of what constitutes a good prayer and how often we don’t take things to God for ourselves because it feels selfish or trivial was on the table.

I was thinking about that later that night.  I don’t believe it’s wrong to pray for something that you want.  Clearly in the Bible, there are passages that tell us that we are tell God what we want.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” –Philippians 4:6

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” –James 1:6

There are even great examples of people who prayed for things that they wanted.  Paul asked the Lord to remove the thorn is his flesh three separate times and God denied the request.  He told Paul that His grace was sufficient and to find strength in his weakness (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).  Hannah prayed for a baby, and she was finally made pregnant with baby Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11).  Jesus Himself prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane for God to take the cup from Him before He was tortured and ultimately killed (Mark 14:36).

The important thing to remember when we are seeking God in prayer for things that we want, is to recognize and allow for the answer that God gives.  The answer from God will be His will, not necessarily ours.  While we may be thankful for the response that He gives us to a request for some things, we may not like the answer on others. 

We must also understand that if God’s answer is the opposite of what we want or desire in an answer, we are not to take over and ‘make it happen.’  I’ve been guilty of this so many times in my life.  I think I know the answer, God is clearly closing the door, and I still manufacture the outcome, because I’m pretty sure I know better than God…how ridiculous does that sound?!

I pray, dear friends, that as you seek the Lord this week that you share with Him what you want.  Nothing is too trivial for God to hear.  He desires for you to bring it to Him.  Then wait for His answer and trust the outcome.  His way is always the right way!

~Erin

Your Biblical Arsenal

From the time my children were little, they were taught gun safety.  They are aware of the ways in which to handle and carry a gun.  They know how to load and shoot guns, as well.  It was important as their parent for Chris to teach them how to use and take care of guns responsibly.

While I don’t believe in a “zombie apocalypse,” it HAS been the running joke for years that we need to have protection, know how to defend ourselves in the event of an attack and what an arsenal would look like in a situation like that. 

This makes me think of our own personal Biblical arsenal.  The Bible is the sword of the Spirit.  It is the part of the Armor of God that allows protection against the devil’s schemes and attacks against us.  It is to be used at all times!  A biblical arsenal can be a book of scripture or your actual Bible that you have with you.  Maybe you have a notebook that you’ve written some verses down in or a Bible study book that you keep handy.

Many verses in the Bible speak to knowing scripture and having scripture handy as a necessity.

This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will achieve success.” –Joshua 1:8

“I have treasured Your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.” –Psalm 119:11

“The Law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.” –Psalm 37:31

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” –Colossians 3:16

I know that I write a LOT about knowing scripture.  I do this twofold. 

The first, because I know how important it is to have a Biblical arsenal handy in times of struggle, attacks, and trials.  I can’t stress enough how calming it feels when a verse that you’ve memorized or read dozens of times pops into your head courtesy of the Holy Spirit during a time of need.  It’s comforting.  It feels like confidence.  It feels as if you’re not alone.  It also opens up the opportunity to take a moment to pray and thank God for the arsenal He’s given.

The second, because I need the reminder even now.  And I know I’m not the only one that needs this reminder.  It’s work to look up and learn verses.  But it’s work that isn’t regretted. 

When you are struggling to find joy in your day and the Holy Spirit lays on your heart Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” it allows for a moment to reflect and give praise to our Father.  It allows a change of direction in our attitude.  When we feel the attack of the devil, perhaps one of the verses you’ve got in your arsenal is “Go away, Satan!  For it is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only,’” Matthew 4:10, the words of Jesus to Satan.

If you’re not great at memorizing, I’d like to suggest something that has worked for me for years.  I’ve carried with me 3×5 spiral-bound notecards.  I found it in Walmart and started writing verses in it that were important to me.  There are verses about salvation and verses about God’s love.  There are verses like the previous ones mentioned.  There’s verses in it about prayer.  They are simply my own hand-written biblical arsenal that I can carry to help me through at a moment’s notice.

I encourage you to put together your own arsenal!  Let us know in the comments below what your biblical arsenal looks like!

~Erin

Appalachian Trail Conversation

I hiked last week.  A lot.  Emily is training towards a monumental goal in a couple of years, and so on occasion I’ll go on hikes with her.  And what I really mean is, we were on vacation and I had nothing better to do, so I let her take me all over northern Georgia area and got sweaty.

Now, anyone that knows me knows that I’m not shy, never have been and I never will be.  And on this particular day, she had picked a hike that was actually part of the Appalachian Trail (AT).  Because I know her goal, I make it my mission in life to talk to anyone that looks like a “serious” hiker.  If you don’t know what a serious hiker looks like, they have a pack that looks too heavy (even though it’s usually not), a bedroll or tent attached to make the pack look even bigger, filters or Life Straws in water bottles, great hiking boots, hair maybe a little messy, you get what I’m throwing down.

It was a great hike orchestrated by Emily.  However, there was a moment that God orchestrated that day that we simply would never have imagined on our own—a moment that you know was simply the hand of our Maker.

We walked around two miles of this particular stretch called Hog Pen Gap and were headed back to where we came from.  The group got separated and Chris and I ended up bringing up the rear at about 5-10 minutes behind Emily.  As we were walking, we passed a woman who looked like one of those serious hikers.  We exchanged hellos, but as she passed us, she stopped, turned around, and inquired about whether there was a water source ahead going in her direction. 

That led to a small conversation with her.  She was, in fact, one of those serious hikers!  She explained she was “couch-to-trail” meaning no training.  She just got up one day, decided she wanted to hike the AT, made a few plans, put some stuff together and hit the trail!  She then explained that she was hiking by herself and that one of the hardest parts of hiking that way was the loneliness that sets in.  She said in one stretch, she went four days without seeing another soul!  As she spoke, I felt the Holy Spirit nudging.  I wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone.

I asked her for her name.  She said “Rochelle.”  I said to her, “Rochelle, I don’t know if you’re a believer, but I am, and I’m going to be praying for you on this journey.  I want you to know that you have people everywhere rooting for you.  And I’ll be praying that you won’t feel alone.”  She replied she was and thanked me.  Before we left, I told her Emily was right up the trail and I was going to tell her about Rochelle, too.  I told her I was going to have Emily look her up on the Appalachian Trail FB groups to find her and we would be rooting for her and praying for her!  And then we went our separate ways.

When I got back to the car and told Emily, she knew exactly who I was talking about!  She’d seen her on the trail, but hadn’t really had a chance to talk.  And wouldn’t you know, that going off of only her first name and a guess of the way it was spelled, we found her on FB among dozens of Rochelle’s in about five minutes later that day!  We were able to connect with her, shoot her a word of encouragement and keep up with her journey!  God knew exactly what He wanted when He planned that moment.

You see, maybe that moment was meant for Rochelle.  Maybe God wanted her to hear from another sister in Christ that she wasn’t alone and to be encouraged.  But I think that moment was just as much for me.

While I’m no stranger to strangers, it still takes courage to talk about God to people.  I constantly have to exercise that commandment, and it means sometimes I have to open the conversation and be willing to be vulnerable.  In today’s culture, while we don’t have it as bad as the apostles did with persecution and stoning, we still have to be prepared for rude remarks, demeaning comments, and ridicule.  It can be nerve-wracking!

The bigger lesson, however, to me was a reminder that even when we feel alone, we are never really alone. 

I’ve been walking through some very rough waters these last few months.  Just read a few of my blogs since March, and you’ll understand my need to completely rely on God.  I know there are many people around me that are doing and feeling the same.  It can feel lonely and discouraging, wishing the heartache would just stop.  We want God’s miracle and we want it now because the feeling of being alone in the storm feels so heavy.

Because of that moment with Rochelle, I was reminded of a verse in the Bible that I can hold on to in those moments, Isaiah 41:10.

“Do not fear, for I am with you;

Do not be afraid, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you, I will also help you,

I will also uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

We do not have to feel alone.  Our greatest strength, our Heavenly Father, is with us as we navigate through sickness, mental health, and despair.  He hasn’t left our side as we struggle through marital problems and job worries.  And He even walks with us when we’re alone on the Appalachian Trail.  Even when we feel the heaviness, we can be assured that He will carry the burden and that He will uphold us.  We never have to do it alone. 

I pray, Iron Porch, that each of us always feel His presence in our moments of loneliness. 

~Erin

Modifications

On Memorial Day this year, I joined several other people at the gym I attend and we completed the Murph WOD.  This particular workout is in honor of a serviceman who gave his life for our country.  It is difficult.  It consists of a 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, and another 1 mile run. 

Seeing as how I can barely get myself to a regular workout, I had prepared myself for only doing part of it.  However, somewhere towards the end, I was challenged by Emily to just finish it out.  And we did…together!  It was a big accomplishment to me.

When I went home to tell my husband, I explained to him about how I had modified some of the exercises (because I’m certainly not strong enough to do 200 straight pushups).  But when I really started to think about how much work I had done, I thought, “why am I minimizing my accomplishment just because it doesn’t look exactly like everyone else’s?”  Modifications are meant to be for those who want to do it but may not be capable of doing it the ‘standard’ way!  I should be proud and I don’t need to explain to someone how I had to make some changes to make it work for me.

I think about how this compares in memorizing scripture.  We work on memorizing a verse.  We repeat it over and over again, but we still need to see a word to get the rest of it out.  Maybe we have to sing it because that’s how we’ve been taught to memorize.  You could have to record your own voice, reading the verse and then listening to it!  I’ve seen multiple ways of learning something.  I’ve also seen where it just simply takes someone longer to memorize than others.  We see it as a weakness, something we have to explain away because it’s not the way everyone else does it.

I encourage you, dear friends, be proud of the studying and growing you are doing with the scripture memory.  Learning the Word of God is not a one size fits all.  What helps one may not help the other.  What matters is that you have committed to hiding God’s Word in your heart.  You have a desire to grow closer to God and understand what He says.  That is key to maturing your walk with Him!

Tell us in the comments below your best study method for memorizing scripture, and let us know which verse you’ve memorized!  And if you have memorized one yet, let us know in the comments which one you’d love to start with.  You’ll never regret it!

~Erin

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not see against Thee.” –Psalm 119:11

Prayer for the Hurting

I was just listening to the radio and they were speaking of the innocent children that were killed in Texas.  It’s just devastating.  I can’t even pretend to put myself in the shoes of those parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or community members to understand what they are going through. 

My first thought, if I’m being completely transparent, was to be grateful it didn’t happen at the school here, and the second thought was that I was glad all of my children have graduated.  Those thoughts don’t make me a bad person or a bad Christian.  They make me human.  However, in that moment directly following, I realized those thoughts hurt God’s heart and are sinful because they go directly against what the bible tells us to do.

Romans 15:1 says, “Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.

And Psalm 143:8 tells us, “Let me hear Your lovingkindess in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.

Both verses speak directly against what I thought.  My thoughts were built around fear and mistrust.  They were rooted in self and not rooted in Christ.  As believers, we are called to bear the weaknesses of those without strength.  I bet those family members, those friends, that community are without strength.  Suffering a senseless loss brings unimaginable pain, and during this time Christians are called to lift them up.

Perhaps it means to write a letter or send a card to them.  Maybe you’ve gone through something like this and can relate to them on a more personal level that can help.  It could possibly mean writing your representative or senator.  And it could mean that we just pray.  Pray hard.  Pray faithfully.  Pray fervently.

The second thought speaks directly to mistrust towards God.  I long for my children to always be safe, but the truth is, my children are His.  He knows the hairs on their heads and the last breaths they will take.  I must lay aside the fear and trust that God will see them through, no matter the outcome.  They’re safe from school now that they’ve graduated but it doesn’t mean that the same thing won’t happen in a local grocery store or outside a gas station.  I must trust Him in all things.  I will never be able to completely protect my children, but our God will protect them whether it’s this side of heaven or the other.

Please be praying for the victims’ families as they grieve.  Lift them up to the Lord and do it often.  My desire is that they will be so covered in prayer by believers all over this world that there will be a tangible feeling of God’s love surrounding them.

~Erin

Graduation

Tonight, my daughter Peyton will walk across the stage and accept her diploma from the principal of her high school.  After years of preparation, countless classes, and thousands of homework assignments and tests, she will be able to say she has completed what was required of her and graduate with the class of 2022.

Her journey has not been an easy one.  With school came hard work and battles that had to be faced.  There were requirements that felt difficult.  There were challenges and hurdles that needed to be overcome and there were times that she felt as if it was all for nothing.  But at the end of tonight, she will receive her congratulations for a job well done.

I think to what it will look like when I have completed my journey here on earth.  I long for the days when I can say as Paul did to Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;” –2 Timothy 4:7

When we reach the end of our lives, I will imagine we that we will feel very similar to how Peyton feels today.  We will have accepted Christ as our Savior, studied God’s Word and honored His commands.  Perhaps we felt like the assignment God laid out for us seemed unusual, but we did it anyway.  Maybe we failed at times…miserably failed…and then turned back to God, asking the Holy Spirit to lead us back on track.  I wonder if we would feel that we were ‘missing out’ on worldly things, knowing that we were called to be strangers in a foreign land.

And while we know that our journey was not an easy one, the reward we receive at the end of it all will be worth it.  The bible speaks to the inheritance that is ours as believers.  When we have completed our race, when we have finished the course, our diploma is an eternity in heaven with the Creator of everything!  We have no more sadness, no sickness, no pain.  We worship God and lay crowns at His feet!  We sing with angels! 

I can’t wait for the moment when I can stand before my Heavenly Father and He says to me, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” 

Today, while I congratulate Peyton and her classmates as they complete their journey of school, I pray that I never forget the journey of life that we must go through as Christians, knowing that we will be greeted and congratulated on a job well done when our time is done, too.

~Erin

The Beauty of Creation

Three weeks ago, I started my garden.  I plotted out what I wanted to plant and began the task of putting seeds in the soil to (hopefully) produce my family some vegetables!  I started with nothing but seeds; I didn’t do any starter plants this year, so I wasn’t sure how long it would take to see growth or if I would even actually see growth at all.

So far, I have not been disappointed!  I am astounded when I walk back there every night and see little green sprouts shooting up from the ground!  My Parisian pickling cucumbers are just stems and two leaves and my excitement would indicate they’re practically ready to harvest.  I just can’t believe how these little tiny seeds can be placed in dirt and watered and they can grow into food for us to enjoy at dinner!

This reminds me that nothing is created under the sun that isn’t created by God.  Genesis clearly tells us that He made heavens and earth, mountains, trees, grass, plants, animals and humans.  There isn’t a single thing on this planet that wasn’t orchestrated by God and it shows! 

I think of Psalm 96:11-12, “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; Let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it.  Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy” where even His creation praises who He is.

“For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever! Amen.”  Romans 11:36 tells us that He created that seed to go in the dirt that He brought into existence.  How awesome is our Father that every intricate detail was thought of and planned.

I think that too many times I overlook simple things like this.  It’s… “second nature” to me!  I walk through the woods or see trees or gardens and I don’t even think about the fact that it was designed with purpose.  It’s incomprehensible to my human mind how complex creation is, and yet, God spoke it into existence knowing exactly how it should be!

I pray that as we go through this week, that we stop and truly see the world around us that God has allowed us to be part of.  Sing with joy for the beauty that He has surrounded us with.  Praise Him for His creation!  What He has given us is beautiful.

~Erin