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Thursday, October 31, 2013

   
       Thank you so much for interest in advertising at Sweetness Itself blog! Since starting the blog and ministry at the end of 2011, it has grown significantly and I've just been amazed at the community of bloggers and readers I've come to have the privilege of connecting with. Now, friends, I want to connect you and introduce you to my other awesome readers and followers!

Starting today, I'm offering 27% off ALL ads for next month - November is my birthday month and I'm turning 27, so I want to celebrate with building more community here with you all! 

God is doing big things here at this little blog, and I would be thrilled for you to join the ride this month. I'm publishing my book The Darling Diaries in December, writing over at Quite Magazine, and have some super exciting new things (a linkup... and something that has to do with a road trip ;) here on the blog this next month. So come and join the fun! 

I love working with bloggers, shops (Etsy, handmade, artists, sellers of products such as Mary Kay), and I love featuring & sharing your creativity - musicians who want to promote their album, writers who want to share their books or even magazine editors who want to broaden their audience! I'm excited and open to working with you, whatever your art, business and passion is! Email me with ANY ideas: erinjames@hotmail.com 

---> You can start TODAY! Or anytime you're ready.
---> Ads run for 30 days.
---> Don't have a button? No worries! I'll make one for you for free!

Current Stats:


As of 10/31/13

Total Reach: 7,500+
Pageviews last month: 15,000+
Google Friend Connect Followers: 1,170+
                 Twitter: 2,800+                
Instagram: 2,600+
Pinterest: 1,400+
Facebook: 800+ 
Bloglovin' – 492+ #15 of 248 in Christian blog category in June 2012
{I can no longer find the Christian/Relgious category on Bloglovin’, if you find it - let me know!) 

For 27% off ANY ad in November, use this code at checkout! 

OPTIONS

Sweetest... 



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Sweetness...
           
           ---> Sweetness itself! (I had to. ;)  
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Sweeter...

         ---> Very sweet deal! 
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

On my heart today.... 


Judging is easy & ugly.
Loving is hard & beautiful.
God, help me to love without condition
and to remember:
it's not my job to judge.

Go out, beautiful.
And love, love, love.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I love transitioning summer clothes and stretching them into fall and winter! I love pairing summery lace shorts with tights, booties, a long sleeved top and a scarf. Don't be afraid to play with unique and various patterns and textures - I threw lace, sheer fabric, stripes, leather, and a fun patterned scarf together and the contrasts worked! Share in the comments below, friends -what are your favorite ideas for making summer clothes wearable for fall?

 Outfit Stats /// 

 Oh, and the sunglasses are from Forever 21 :) 
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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Friends, my book is coming soon... I've been working so very much on completing it and getting it ready for publishing! I am truly so excited, nervous, thrilled, and just anticipating sharing it with you. It's my heart on paper. A love letter from me to you... from Him to you. And I can't wait to make it available on December 1st! This is my release day! More details coming soon, but for now, may you be encouraged and inspired by a few quotes from the book.... 


For more about "The Darling Diaries", visit: www.TheDarlingDiaries.com 
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Saturday, October 26, 2013

 Remember your worth, ladies! 
You are worth waiting for.
And it will be so worth the wait! 
You are a daughter of the King of the world,
you deserve the kind of man who will respect your body and commit to you. 
Boyfriends and randoms don't get husband benefits :) 

You are LOVED :)

XO
Erin
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hi sweet readers! 

Today I have someone really special to share with you. You know that when I feature musicians, bloggers, and friends here on my blog that I believe in them, love them and know you will be encouraged by them. Today's feature is so exciting and close to my heart, so take a minute to get to know the amazing lady I'm about to introduce you to. You will be encouraged, girls!
Remember the Christian singing group Point of Grace? Terry Lang Jones (visit her website here) is one of the original members of the group and sang/toured with the band for 14 years, leaving the road to be a stay at home mom and wife. She is now entering a new season of creating an indie record! I've loved Terry's voice and her music since the POG days - I got their album "Life Love and Other Mysteries" on tape (yes, a tape...this was way before iPods, y'all :) for my birthday when I turned 10 years old. From that time forward, these sweet singers became my #1 favorite band. My sister Mandy and I and our best friend Rachel thought they were so pretty, cool, and talented. We bought their posters and hung them on our bedroom walls. They became our role models, not just for their music but for their hearts and message of faith. Through the years, I bought all their CDs, performed their songs to tracks at church, read their books, and drove with Mom & Dad to several of their concerts in California. These ladies made such an impact on me. I will always remember waiting in line for hours to meet Terry and the POG girls. My sister and our two friends were literally the very last girls in a very long line of fans. When we finally got to the table (wearing our POG t-shirts) to meet the ladies, we were so nervous. I'll never forget how sweet, attentive, and kind Terry and the other girls were. It made such a huge impact on me at the time - how they took the time to talk to us, ask our names, chat with us, and make us feel special. 


Terry on the back far left, 12 year old me on the front far right :) 
Autumn 1999 
Terry is someone I look up to still today as a role model. She is a godly woman who lives her life for Jesus and sets a beautiful example of what a woman of God looks like. Her faith and heart has inspired me so, so much! Her music has been a big part of my life and sweet encouragement to me. Her ministry with Point of Grace is one of the reasons I was inspired to have a heart for ministering, speaking, writing and blogging to young women! This is why I'm super excited to tell you about her new record!

Her album "I Will Speak" is releasing in just a few days and is available for pre-order right now at iTunes! This Saturday, 10/26/2013 you can purchase Terry's album HERE



I asked Terry for one piece of advice for my young women readers here at Sweetness Itself Blog and she graciously shared this wise answer: 



Twitter: @terrylangjones
Instagram: @terrylangjones


"In struggling with thoughts about doing this album, one of the questions
that came to me was, what will people think? Will the ones who
know me be able to see God in any way despite my daily flaws? Will
Point of Grace fans like hearing my words, my heart? Will the professional
Christian artist world reject my art and call it less than? Filling
my mind are these self doubts. Maybe you relate, or maybe you’re surprised
i’m like this with the successes i’ve received before. Whatever
you are, i have learned i must be okay with you owning your opinions
and i must rest in knowing i must please an audience of one, the One.
So, though many may have done more amazing works than me, i must
remind myself to rest in knowing God has been in me, that it is my
own burden to make things as beautiful as i can, and to know that no
one else is me and no one else will write it like God has put on me
to write. So, in that, i learn, continually, to sing, write, create for Him.
That maybe my heart will be contagious to you and that in the words
and melodies i’ve been given, you might find your own gifts, your own
struggles, and relate, as i believe God desires us to relate. Just in
knowing that we all fail, we all struggle, there is encouragement that i
do not have to be perfect. But i do want to offer my gifts to Him and
if that helps you, then yes! Maybe God will smile. Through the years
since leaving a professional recording career i’ve come to learn a lot
about myself and others, mostly learning awareness of my humanity,
and need for Him but also to find we are all human. Human with our
own issues and problems, human where we realize we need a savior.
This album is my effort to portray my life, my struggles, my humanness,
my love for my savior and my desire to honor Him. It’s my best
at making beauty out of this life and loving my people well. i hope its
something you do love, as i feel God has given it uniquely to me and
for that i come with gratitude. May this record bless you as much as
possible as you journey with me through life. Everyone has a story.
This is mine. Each life circumstance that has brought me to a place to
write about it, has been my journey. i do have a voice, my own unique
voice, i will speak is my way of creating things as beautifully as i can,
learning and speaking of what He has done and what i am learning
and i will continue learning on this journey i’m on. 
Thanks for sharing my journey with me."


Girls, I SO encourage you to buy "I Will Speak" - you can hear one of the songs today on Terry's website and it is so so beautiful. I know this honest, encouraging, beautiful album will be inspiring for you - whoever and wherever you are! Terry's voice is just lovely and I can't wait to hear the entire album on Saturday.

Love you friends, be blessed and enjoy listening Terry's music this weekend!

XO

Erin James 
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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Just a little Fall fashion to start off your week & inspire you... pair boots with tulle - the contrast of textures is unexpected and pretty! 

Dress: Macy's (borrowed from Sister) 
Necklace: Forever 21
Black Tank: Target
Boots: Target
Bracelets: Forever 21
Nail Polish: Essie, Bachelorette Bash 
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Friday, October 18, 2013

I have a little treat for you this weekend, friends!
My interview with Elena and Natalia Maranian from New Generation will be airing on TV and Radio Saturday and Sunday! We chat in a coffee date style and I'm thrilled to invite you, my dear readers, to join in our hour-long conversation about faith, fashion, life, purity and waiting for our future husbands, sharing my story, my blog and book, and just laughing and enjoying friendships! Take a look at the ways you can watch and/or listen below - regardless of where you live!
WATCH:
The interview will be aired on the International Christian Family Network! It broadcasts 24/7 quality programming on Charter Cable Channel 382 reaching Glendale, Burbank, La Crescenta, Montrose, and La Canada and simultaneously livestreams worldwide online at www.icfn.tv (Online TV). ICFN also reaches the San Gabriel Valley on Charter Cable Channel 31, Monday-Sunday, starting at 8PM.
For most of you who don't live in the Los Angeles area or if you do not have Charter, you can watch directly online - go to www.icfn.tv, click "Online TV" on the homepage, and press play.
BROADCAST SCHEDULE (w/repeats):
ICFN (TV and Livestream Online)
-Sun. Oct. 20 at 8PM (TV Premiere) -Mon., Oct. 21 at 8AM -Wed., Oct. 23 at 8PM -Thurs., Oct. 24 at 8AM -Fri., Oct. 25 at 12PM -Sat., Oct. 26 at 12AM
LISTEN:
"New Generation" additionally airs on KTLW Worship on the Way Radio Network every Saturday at 4PM and on My Gen Radio every Sunday at 9PM (91.1FM; 91.9; 88.9). 

  • KTLW   “Worship On The Way” Network @ 4 p.m. Saturday 10/19 > 88.9 FM in the Antelope Valley, 91.9 FM in the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, and Simi Valley.
  • WGEN  My Gen Radio Network  @ 4 p.m. Saturday 10/19 > 88.9 FM in Santa Clarita Valley and 91.1 FM from “Burbank to Beverly Hills”—and beyond!
**** Want a FREE BOOK?? All you have to do is send an email to ktlwinfo@ktlw.net and give them complete contact info to sign up for their awesome newsletter and request the FREE book - a copy of "What Works for Young Adults - Solid Choices in Unstable Times" by Shane Idleman!
You can either listen directly on the radio or livestream online at (www.ktlw.org; www.mygenradio.fm). You can also download the KTLW app on your iPhones and listen directly there!
Worship on the Way Radio Network, KTLW-FM
-Sat., Oct. 19 at 4PM (Radio Premiere) -ktlw.org (Click Listen Live) -91.1FM
My Gen Radio
-Sun., Oct. 20 at 9PM -mygenradio.fm (Click Listen Now)
Our conversation was so fun - just like a coffee date (the girls are so sweet & thoughtfully served me coffee and cupcakes!) Listen in or watch the program, and follow along with these awesome girls -I know you will be encouraged!
Sharing a few snapshots from the interview day:
Have a beautiful, blessed weekend sweet friends!
If you tune in, let me know what you think!!
XO
Erin
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Remember a few weeks ago when I shared a bit on my blog and social media about meeting two kindred spirits and having the privilege of being interviewed by these beautiful friends? Well today, you have the opportunity to get to know them! Elena and Natalia are two lovely young women of God who are just gems in every way - I'm struck by how classy, kind, Godly, smart and fun they both are (and to my guy readers I know stop by here...they're single!) We've become friends and I've so enjoyed and been encouraged by time spent with these ladies. 

This weekend, my interview will air on their radio and TV show - I will be sharing the links for that tomorrow so you can tune in and watch/listen if you'd like! (It will be airing in Los Angeles but also online live stream!
Starting with the New Gen Twins, Natalia and Elena Maranian, I am going to be sharing a special interview series with you, my dear readers, once in a while. Interviews with amazing people who I want you to meet, who I've learned from, who have incredible voices and ministries that I know you will be inspired by. So, read along in our little conversation (go get a cup of coffee with whipped cream & let's have a virtual coffee date!



Hi Elena & Natalia! Can you each share a bit about yourselves, where you went to school, etc.?

  ELENA: Hi Erin and Sweetness Itself readers! We’re 23-year-old twins born and raised in Glendale, CA, and we have a multiracial heritage. Our father is Armenian, and our mother is Hispanic; we speak three different languages including, Armenian, Spanish, and, of course, English. We also have a lovely younger sister, Carolina.

NATALIA: In 2012, we both graduated with a B.A. in Communication with honors, summa cum laude (Elena) and magna cum laude (Natalia), from Woodbury University. Currently, we are both working full-time at our parents’ television network, International Christian Family Network, hosting and producing our talk show, “New Generation.”

Tell us about the TV/radio program you host and produce! What is your goal and heart behind the show? 

ELENA: In 2008, our father Vahe’s life-long vision of having a 24/7 Christian television network became a reality. International Christian Family Network broadcasts quality, Christian programming in a variety of different languages (English, Armenian, Farsi, Arabic, Russian, and more), with the mission of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the nations via television and online platforms. In 2009, through much prayer and encouragement from our parents, we decided to take on the opportunity of hosting and producing an original talk show for International Christian family Network. After months of prayer and planning, on September 2009, we premiered our very first episode of “New Generation” on ICFN!

NATALIA: Our heart behind “New Generation” is to inspire our generation to be on fire, passionate, and in love with Jesus Christ. We have had the privilege of meeting and interviewing many different individuals and featuring powerful testimonies from musicians, producers, actors, authors, humanitarians, and more. We enjoy inviting guests that are using their time, treasures, and talents for the glory of God who will in turn inspire our viewers and listeners to discover their own unique calling in life. We discuss a variety of topics including purity and waiting, finding your identity in Christ, supporting the pro-life movement, bringing awareness to human-trafficking around the world, and more. At the end of each show, we also love to ask our guests what their advice is for our generation.
ELENA: Additionally, in 2011, “New Generation” began reaching the radio waves on Worship on the Way Radio Network, KTLW-FM, and most recently on My Gen Radio. Our program is not solely geared towards the younger generation, however, it is fully open to anyone who wants to know what it means to be new in Christ. As it states so beautifully in 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Can you tell my readers where they can watch/listen to you? 

 NATALIA: Of course! For anyone who is interested, they may watch “New Generation” on International Christian Family Network (www.icfn.tv), Charter Cable Channel. 382 (Glendale, CA; Burbank, La Crescenta, La Canada, Montrose) and on Charter Cable Channel. 31 (San Gabriel Valley) every Sunday at 8PM (PST). If you do not have Charter, or do not live in the areas listed, “New Generation” also livestreams worldwide online at www.icfn.tv (Click Online TV).
ELENA: If you happen to miss a program, it should always be archived on www.newgenshow.com in our media gallery. Our repeat dates are: Mondays/Wednesdays at 8AM; Wednesdays at 8PM; Fridays at 12PM; Saturdays at 12AM. We additionally have the opportunity to reach the radio waves on Worship on the Way Radio Network, KTLW-FM (91.1FM; ktlw.org) every Saturday at 4PM and on My Gen Radio (91.1FM; 88.9FM; mygenradio.fm) every Sunday at 9PM (PST). By God’s grace, ICFN will soon broadcast on satellite, which will extend the coverage of “New Generation.”

4.      What are 5 fun facts about each of you?

NATALIA:
1.  In love with Christmas and everything about it. My name, Natalia, actually means, “Born on Christmas day.”
2.  Cannot swim! Took lessons at the YMCA with my twin at a young age, and still could not float. But hope still floats and cheers to hoping that one day we can both miraculously learn.
3.  Super scared of spiders. Praying for a brave husband who’ll be able to kill these terrifying arachnids on-demand, or I just might have to invent something that will help me terminate them at a distance.
4.   So fascinated by “Boo – the World’s Cutest Dog!” Whenever I see one that looks like him, my heart drops, and then I immediately run up to the owner and ask if I can snap a photo with their adorable pooch.
5.  Anything cozy and comfy – from luxury faux fur throws to cashmere sweaters and wool scarves – gives me warm, fuzzy feelings.
ELENA:                                             
1.       I’m only one minute younger than my twin, Natalia.
2.       I thrive off of organization and cleanliness.
3.       Coffee with whip cream makes me happy.
4.       I enjoy vintage shopping and discovering hidden treasures.
5.       Surprisingly, I find it easier to walk in high heels than in flats.

5.      You are both passionate about purity and waiting, we share similar hearts in this. Why are you both choosing to wait for the men God has for you? 

ELENA: I am passionate about purity and waiting, because the Lord is passionate about purity and waiting. He is a pure and holy God who longs for a pure and holy bride. As the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable.”  The Lord knows all the desires of my heart, and I trust that He will hand-pick a man who loves Him with all of his heart, mind, soul, and strength, and who will love me like the Lord loves His bride. Ever since I was a young girl, my greatest dream and desire has been to be a wife and a mother. Before even dreaming about the wedding dress and the wedding, I dreamt of the marriage. I have faith that the Lord will honor the desires of my heart in His perfect, pleasing, and beautiful time as I continue to honor Him and do His work. I’m looking forward to the day I meet my future husband and tell him that I’ve prayed for him, waited for him, loved him, and was faithful to him even before I knew him. For “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is like a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12).

NATALIA: There is no better way than to take His way in all matters of life. I’ve come to realize that God is really interested in every aspect of our lives, including purity, waiting, singleness, and relationships. My dreams, hopes, and desires are deeply known by God and He wants to fulfill each one of them in His own time. Even if you feel like your own dreams are not coming to pass, don’t forget that His ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9) and that He wants to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). I am choosing to wait for my future husband, because I believe it is an honorable thing to be able to tell him that even before I met him, I was committed to him and intentional about how my choices as a single would affect him. Ultimately, it is my honor and privilege to obey the Lord, because He is the greatest blessing and Love of all.

What is one piece of advice you would give as encouragement to young women today? 

NATALIA: I would like to encourage all the young women to envision their identity, and who they are, through the eyes of God. When you realize that you are royalty, the daughter of the King of all kings, with an eternal inheritance, your whole perspective and life will change. You will start living for eternity, and not for the temporary, by being mindful about the legacy you will leave on the next generation. You are loved divinely by a special Someone who is the Alpha and the Omega, knows the beginning from the end, who sees you for who you could be, yet unconditionally cherishes you for who you already are. As His beloved daughters, we are being pursued and wooed by a Man, who is fully God, and who burns with desire for us all. He wants to take you on the biggest adventure of your life. The most challenging aspect of my journey with God has been surrendering control; yet, I have realized that to do so is the sweetest, safest, most beautiful thing you can ever do. The choice to let go and let God, after doing all that you can do, will be the best choice you can ever make in your relationship with Him. As my mom, Hilda, always says, “Do your best, and God will do the rest!” You will never regret saying, “YES!” to Jesus.

ELENA: You are fearfully and wonderfully made and God created each and every one of you uniquely with a special purpose and talent in mind. He loves you with all of His heart, mind, soul, and strength and desires to be your closest friend. Talk with God about everything and invite Him into your everyday life. There are three promises in the Bible that greatly encourage me and pray will also encourage you: 1. Nothing or no one can separate you from His love (Romans 8:38). 2. Do not fear, for He has redeemed you; He has called you by name: you are His (Isaiah 43:1). 3. He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

What are your links so readers can connect with you?

Twitter: www.twitter.com/newgentwins (@newgentwins)
Instagram: www.instagram.com/newgentwins (@newgentwins)
Address: P.O. Box 10640, Glendale, CA 91209


Thanks for the coffee date, friends!
I loved introducing you to Elena & Natalia - don't you love their hearts?
I'm so inspired and encouraged knowing we are not alone
 as we stand for Jesus in this generation.
See you tomorrow as I share the places you can hear and watch my interview 
on New Generation! 

XO

Erin
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

One of my favorite quotes. A reminder for you today, friend.


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Sunday, October 13, 2013

My dear beautiful readers, 

I'm sorry I have been MIA this last week. My day to day was full to the brim of the unexpected. The kind that falls on your house like a tornado, picks you up in a whirlwind and takes your breath away. Last Wednesday, my precious dad ended up at the ER with a heart issue. The last days are a blur of fear but I remember racing to the hospital. Walking down the bright hallway and hearing my boots click loudly on the linoleum floor. Seeing one of my best friends - the most important man in my life - wheeled to a room in a gurney. Hearing the news of what happened and feeling the room spin. Fear. Fear overtaking me in a way I've never known. And concern, worry... for Dad. The next days unfolded in a cloud of exhaustion, anxiety, and concern. Throwing on a sweatshirt the next morning. Feeling the cold of early morning, the volunteer's cheerful "Goodmorning!" at the welcome desk as I signed into the hospital and my lurching heart responding silently It is NOT a good morning. Placing the "Visitor Pass" sticker on my sweater. Seeing Dad in pain and discomfort and just feeling so helpless. 
Dad underwent a procedure for a blockage to his heart. And friends, the waiting, the fear, the pain, the panic - through it all, my family and I saw the Lord's hand so clearly over the situation. My dad is like a character outta "Braveheart" (he's totally of Scottish/British decent too :) such a strong man in every way, and he fearlessly faced the uncertainty and pain. The Lord spared him so obviously and performed miracles. During the second day, I had a speaking engagement and was blown away by the precious women students who asked to pray for my dad. Our family was showered in prayer and love from family and friends. Two dear friends in Australia even called the hospital. We found out that God spared my dad significantly. Had the timing been off, it could have been much worse. My mom urged him to go to the ER and had she not, he may not be with us today. The thought makes me shudder, and is a harsh but important reminder.... life is so short. Life is so precious. Life is a gift. And God has a plan. I share this with you because on this little blog, I feel called to share my story with you. I am blown away by the Lord's hand on my family, His grace, and His faithfulness. His timing is perfect. Even when things don't work out as wonderfully as they have for my dad. He is healing now and resting. I appreciate your prayers for complete restoration of health. But he is OK - making jokes and charming everybody - back to his old self. The past days of basically living in the hospital taught me so much.... 

In moments of fear, I snuck away a few times to the maternity/NICU ward that was right by my dad's room. Because, seeing adorable little babies makes this girl feel better! Sweet tiny babies, dads holding them... such a reminder of how precious life is, how valuable family is. And meeting a few people whose stories rocked my heart. I encountered a mother who told me her 24 year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer that morning. I saw suffering in every corner. Yet, in my daily life, I don't encounter much suffering. I push it aside, honestly - and distract myself with the joys of life... Starbucks lattes, family... the sweet things. But there is so much suffering in the world, and I was reminded this week - oh how we need Jesus. 

Early last week, before anything occurred, an old song from one of my favorite bands played in my mind. For no reason. How thankful I was when the trial hit us that these words of truth rang in my mind.

Friend - if you are walking through some type of fear, loss, or tribulation today - may you be reminded through this post that He is with you, He has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11) and His hand is on your situation. You are loved. He is with you in the valley. He will carry you from valleys of sorrow... to rivers of joy. In this world and life we will have many troubles, Scripture says - but someday, we will find rivers of joy - eternally with Him. Hallelujah. 


When death - like a gypsy - comes to steal what I love
I will still look to the heavens.
I will still seek Your face.


Love you all so so much and thank you from me and my family
for your MANY prayers, emails and love. Means the world.
Embrace your life today and your loved ones. 
Life is short. And beautiful.

XO

Erin
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