21 November 2018

Gratitude Stories ~ Writing


Greetings Dear Reader,

Since I face this empty page every day, I sometimes forget to be thankful for writing.  It is the thing I love doing the most in the area of creativity.  It is how I wish to make my living.  It is where I find the most semblance to my Creator.

It is in this craft that my gratitude story emerges.  I mentioned earlier that I am under the care of a ministry team who took the time to tell me what they see for me in my journey.  As they explained, they are not telling me what to do but rather telling me what they see and letting the Spirit do the directing.  Still there are things that come out of these conversations that defy human explanation.

One of the people involved in this conversation did not know that I was a writer.  She said that she saw me sitting at an old table, not a desk.  She further said there was a single candle, a parchment, and a pen.  I was writing and the Father was telling me what to write.  I know better than to think that I should begin writing with a quill by candlelight. 

That, however, does not change that at that time and now I am using an old kitchen table and a single desk lamp for my writing.  It is not a desk.  It is not the place I would choose to write, but it confirms that where I am is where I should be at this time.  Again, the mounting number of inexplicable events compels my faith. 

I am not counting on those events to sustain my faith.  Instead I am using my faith to allow things beyond my ken.  I do not have to understand how she knew what my writing space looked like to know that it was beyond her knowledge.  I know that I do not seek the mystical to show me that my faith is valid.  Neither do I rule out its working to verify my reasonable belief.

This means that even when I continue to have very little that I write.  I put the words on the page every day.  That faithful following as a sub-creator has allowed me to complete two novels and a devotional book in a year.  I am writing easier than I have ever written.

I do not know where this is going but I am thankful for the ease and privilege of using words to create.  I love the stories in my head.  I value more the stories behind them that are real and eternal.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and I get to spend it serving a family that I dearly love.  I will, however, first face the empty page and share some of my heart with you Dear Reader.  I am thankful for your love and kindness in ways you will not know this side of eternity.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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20 November 2018

Gratitude Stories ~ Real Conversations

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the changes that has occurred is the timbre of my daily conversations.  Before I began this transitional part of the journey very few of those with whom I interacted daily were keen on real conversations about the Father and his daily conversation with us.  The few who were willing to be a part of that conversation are still there even though they are distant.

In my current environment the things of God are central to conversation, daily practice, and life.  Just yesterday I saw the power of the Divine in a frail woman who chose to spontaneously pray for me, my children, and our needs.  This is not the first time she has been significant in this part of my journey.  She prayed and I wept over her words that reminded me so clearly of the love and care that the Father has for me in all things.

There are those who are distant with whom I can have real conversations and at least two of them, Jeff and Alex have stayed true in their friendship and support.  My father wounds have made real conversations with adult men difficult all my life.  These to friends transcend that barrier because of their kindness and love for me.  Part of my gratitude story is their friendship

I am becoming acquainted with men who also are transcending that barrier.  It is fearful for me to confront the destruction of a wall which has its foundation in my earliest life experiences; some beyond memory.  Still, I am grateful for those who hold these loving real conversations with me based on faith and following Christ.

We are supposed to be the people in whom others are offered the opportunity to see the love of the Father, the precious fellow traveler we have in Jesus, and the power we have from the Holy Spirit.  The real conversations with these human fellow travelers are showing me the faces of the Divine in ways they do not even realize.

It is in the love and care of these fellow travelers that I find my heart sustained and grateful for the love of a God who is literally singing out an entire universe just to make sure we see that love.  Your company in these daily writings is also part of that blessing Dear Reader.  You are part of my fellow traveler gratitude story. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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19 November 2018

Gratitude Stories ~ Trying on Tevye

Greetings Dear Reader,

If you have not seen Fiddler on the Roof, you must.  It is the story of a Jewish dairy farmer in Russia on the eve of the Communist expansion in Russia.  Throughout the show Tevye, our dairyman talks to God about the things that are going on in his life.

I first encountered this story in the movie version.  I have since seen it on stage and performed in it as well.  I am drawn to this man’s story because of one simple thing.  He prays constantly.  It is tradition for him but it is also genuine.

My heart is to become someone who is in constant conversation with the Father.  I want my life to be an act of prayer.  I want everything that comes out of my mouth to be an expression of his love for us.  I have so far to go but this is one of those things that becomes more genuine as we do it.

My gratitude story is how well it works.  When I do this, I get in touch with how I really feel about things and I express honestly my doubts and fears.  I am able to edit out the lies and see some of the truths more clearly.  It is renewing and resetting my thinking in some interesting ways.

As I enter the week of Thanksgiving, I face some real emotional upheaval.  I am out of resources, my access to family is limited, and I have no idea how the Father will see me through this.  On the other hand, I do not know how I am going to accomplish any of the things I need to do.  On the other hand, none of us really knows and that is why we are supposed to leave it to the Father.  Without faith, It is enough to drive a man mad. 

When faced with these dilemmas, perhaps we should reason things out as Tevye did. “He loves her. Love, it's a new style... On the other hand, our old ways were once new, weren't they?... On the other hand, they decided without parents, without a matchmaker!... On the other hand, did Adam and Eve have a matchmaker?... Well, yes, they did. And it seems these two have the same Matchmaker!”

No matter how I feel or what happens, the Father is there working out the ultimate good for us all.  We do not always see it, neither do we always accept it.  That does not change the truth that the only way to keep our precarious balance is through constant conversation with the Father that includes listening and faith.  If we do this perhaps, we can have the confidence of a fiddler on the roof.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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18 November 2018

Gratitude Stories ~ Silent Searching


Greetings Dear Reader,

There was a time, many years ago when I tried to learn the value of solitude.  I spent a Thanksgiving Day alone, praying for my family and friends.  I was single and did not realize how much good I had in my life.  I suppose we rarely see those moments when we are in them.  That is something else on the list of things to learn.

Still that day was so painful for me that I felt the change in my heart.  I recall the moment when I determined that I was done being alone.  From then until this Autumn I do not believe I have honestly confronted that moment.  It was the culmination of fear that had built in me since I was a small child. 

On that day I abandoned the protection that the Father offers and gave part of my mind and heart over to my fear.   What I did not realize is that it warped the love and compassion I feel for others into something that was not always beneficial for either of us.  I began a pattern of beginning with the desire to show love to others and then becoming dependent upon their presence to chase away my fears. 

That pursuit left behind so many things that I could become and anchored me to places instead of the great pursuit of following Christ as completely as I could.  Yesterday morning I realized that I might again be spending Thanksgiving Day alone.  I am not welcome where my Sons will be celebrating.  That is not all my doing but true none-the-less. 

As I face the recurrence of that which so deeply damaged me so long ago, I do so with new skills.  I am learning how to be in silent solitude and finding the Father in that silence.  I still feel the fear but have been told that my armor is sufficient.  I still feel the daunting chasm in my spirit but realize that only the Father can fill it.  In the midst of it all is my desire to truly be thankful for all that I do have.

By the time next Sunday comes around I will know how I fared.  It is not lost on me that the day after facing this solitude is called Black Friday.  My gratitude story is that I am searching in the dark for a single match, but it is a match that I want instead of simply need. 

If I can learn to seek solitude for the purpose of being with the Father and letting him care for me, that single match can light the way to what is next.  I feel honored that the Father takes the time to ask me the same question he asks Job: “If you have nothing else, am I enough for you?  Will you be satisfied with just me?”  I am certain that your prayers are a great need for me as well Dear Reader.   I am thankful for you even when I am alone seeking the face of the Father.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
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17 November 2018

Gratitude Stories ~ Do You Sing?


Greetings Dear Reader,

If your answer to the above question is a resounding “NO”, please stay with me a moment.  The story may be of use to you anyway.  I know that I will benefit from knowing you heard it. 

Two of the items that are significant for me on this journey are music and my deep dive into the letter to the Ephesians.  I am almost done with the dive into Ephesians and will share more about that later.  Of note here, however, is the conjunction of this letter and music.

Music truly helps me to express my heart when all else fails.  Songs are in my mind constantly and they teach me much.  They also help me see truths that can get lost on the non-emotional reasoning side of my brain.  I would have you consider for a moment what Paul says to the Ephesians concerning music: 

“…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

Someone I love once told me that it really helped her when I spoke the words of songs to her.  I have always held that it is not the style of music that matters as much as the content.  My mind conjures a song in almost every situation in which I exist.  I am compelled at times to start quoting or sometimes singing what is dancing through my mind to others.  As you can imagine this is received with everything from joy to thinking I am mad.

Then there are the times when songs overwhelm and hold me in their grip until they teach me what they wish me to learn.  As I have been learning to allow God to Father me, I have had to deal with years of treating him as silent in this area.  It was not conscious or intentional.  It is still true.

Then the song that follows crashed on me like a fifty-foot wave.  It showed me over and over that even when I perceived that God is silent, he is speaking loudly and clearly to me in song.  My gratitude story is clearly that I have a Father who constantly sings to me and wishes for me to pass that on to others. 

Take the time to listen to this song Dear Reader. Even when there is silence the Father of Creation sings to us in ways we do not perceive.  He is working every instant to bring all things back to good.  He calls us constantly home.  He is the true pied piper and his tune will reach us all eventually.  I am grateful to be a part of that song.

The Silence Of God – Michael Card

It's enough to drive a man crazy; it'll break a man's faith
It's enough to make him wonder if he's ever been sane
When he's bleating for comfort from Thy staff and Thy rod
And the heaven's only answer is the silence of God

It'll shake a man's timbers when he loses his heart
When he has to remember what broke him apart
This yoke may be easy, but this burden is not
When the crying fields are frozen by the silence of God

But when you have to listen to the voices of the mob
Who are reeling in the throes of all the happiness they've got
When they tell you all their troubles have been nailed up to that cross
Then what about the times when even followers get lost?
'Cause we all get lost sometimes...

There's a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll
In the hills of Kentucky, all quiet and cold
He's kneeling in the garden, as silent as a stone
All His friends are sleeping and He's weeping all alone

And the man of all sorrows, he never forgot
What sorrow is carried by the hearts that he bought
So, when the questions dissolve into the silence of God
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
In the holy, lonesome echo of the silence of God

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

16 November 2018

Gratitude Stories ~ Three Nights on the Edge


Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the things I have worked toward all my life is being sure that every life matters to me.  Since we live in a death-based echo system, the value of life must become obvious for us to understand our world.  Whilst there is life there is hope whether we admit it or not. 

I have also mentioned that one of my great fears has been being alone.  In addition, when I confessed this fear to some close to me, I found myself left in just that state.  There was advice from friends to spend time with them when what they could not see was how out of resources I was.  This drove me to an edge which I have not faced in over two decades. 

A few years ago, whilst on vacation I developed a physical problem that effected my shoulder and neck muscles.  My physician prescribed Cyclobenzaprine in ten milligram tablets as a relaxant for my inability to sleep.  It is important to this gratitude story that one know that I do not get along well with opiates.  The strength of Tylenol 3 is enough to send me to the moon.  Cough medicines with opiates knock me out. I found that taking just one of the Cyclobenzaprine tablets put me out for at least an entire day.

We come to the heart of the tale. Out of thirty tablets, I had taken only three over the period of a year.  When I found myself sitting alone in my isolation, I determined to take them all.  For three nights I sat in the dark holding the bottle of tablets and considering my options. 

The first night, as the choice to die grew easier in my mind, a friend contacted me wanting to talk about some help he needed.  The distraction was enough to chase away my resolve.  The second night, after someone dear to me had promised to see me and instead given me silence, I sat there again weeping, fearful, and alone.  I had filled my favorite rocks glass with Southern Comfort and had the top off the bottle of tablets.  A neighbor knocked on my door.  We had often interacted in passing.  This night, she had brought me some cookies and a hug.  I ate the cookies, drank the Southern Comfort, and went to sleep. 

The third night I was alone again and the day was an important one to me.  It marked a remembrance that should be beautiful but was now quite sour.  I was out of Southern and any other kind of comfort.  I filled the same rocks glass with water and sat down to die.  Someone I love called me because she was worried about me.  I lied and said that I was fine.  In my mind though I realized that I was not fine.  I was not OK. 

On the fourth day I reached out to someone who had offered me refuge and began to make the transition to this part of the journey.  I realize that I told many people I was fine when I was not.  In those days on the edge of death I did not think that anyone would care enough to act.  I apologize for not being genuine with you. Those that were nearby and say they do care were in the midst of their own struggles or acting in ways that betrayed their words. 

I still see now, as I withdraw from that edge and am being stripped down for reset, that I am grateful for the Father sending people to interrupt my plans.  They will not know unless they read this that they had a part in preserving my life.  They helped turn death into a fighting chance to live.  My gratitude story is two-fold. 

The first is for life itself.  It is true that whilst there is life there is hope.  I have much more hope today than I had on this day three months ago.  Life is not easy but it is daily worth living.  My failure to focus on Christ and following him took me to this edge and once there the final step seems reasonable and easy.

My second gratitude story is for those who act on those uncertain impulses to check on those who seem fine but you are not certain.  Had I chosen to die, many would have been shocked at the news.  They would have remarked that I always seemed so happy.  The truth is that most of the time I mitigate my pain by showing love to others.  When you feel the urge to reach out to someone, support him, or ask for his help, do not dismiss it Dear Reader.  It just might be the Father using you to pull someone back from the edge for one more day.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
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15 November 2018

Second Thoughts ~ Saying Goodbye to Stan Lee


Greetings Dear Reader,

We all owe a death.  Over the years we have seen many of the heroes created by Stan Lee and his friends die and be somehow miraculously resurrected.  I waited a couple days to try and write this because this man’s passing diminishes me as well.  We have all lost something with his journey to that undiscovered country.

What I will always carry with me is the way he taught me about creativity.  Tolkien teaches us that we are all sub-creators under the tutelage of the great Creator.  Stan Lee personified this for me in so many ways.

He created an entire universe that began in New York city and expanded to fill the multi-verse.  In his creations I see the lessons of Arthur, Aslan, and Gandalf as well.  His work helped me to learn:
  • There is a hero in all of us.
  • We have powers but others will not always understand them.
  • Sometimes you must keep things secret to protect others.
  • Your enemies can become your friends.
  • Your friends can become your enemies.
  • In either case I must focus on what is good no matter the cost.
  • Using your powers for good is what matters.
  • Hatred will destroy us.
  • There is always a way to do what is right.
From my youth I have watched him create and it has inspired me to create.  My pallet is different buy my heart is to create stories that challenge us all to love each other more and treat each other better.  Thank you, Stan.  You done good kid…

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
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Gratitude Stories ~ Lettuce Pray


Greetings Dear Reader,

When we are using our eyes for faith and following, I feel that we often see things we normally would not.  I think that the idea that “believing is seeing” has merit far beyond our human ability to find things that we imagine are there.  It can be in the simple things that we find that the care and presence of the Father can be most clearly seen.

This gratitude story is a simple one.  When one is living at the substance level, one notices that little things taken for granted become luxuries instead of common.  The needs of the day are all that one can manage and still do what is required to follow and have faith.  Then there are the random thoughts, whispered to God not necessarily as requests but trying to be in constant conversation with him.

Yesterday morning whilst I was preparing my writing for the day, I was talking to the Father as I do daily.  I mentioned, “I do miss having a refrigerator with salad in it so that I could have one when I wished.  I miss salad.”  I do miss salad and realize the times I let it go brown when I took it for granted.

Later in the morning, as I sat writing at the House of Prayer, one of the staff members approached me.  She said that she had some lettuce and salad mix that she was not going to use and wondered if I wanted it.  She did not know about my conversation with the Father six hours earlier.  I had told no one about that feeling.

I had enough to make a nice salad for lunch and to share the rest with the family that is hosting me.  The blessing of this woman’s generosity is so much greater than her merely sharing her surplus with me.  It is the Father whispering back to me that he is there and hears everything. 

It is easy for cynics to say that it is only a coincidence.  I see their need to dismiss the acting of God as accidental convergence of actions.  To accept that there is real and loving God that cares whether or not this “starving writer” has salad means that all the other grand questions have answers.  Over the last two months I have seen numerous moments where faith and a submissive heart have produced opportunity to see what I believe. 

This gratitude story is to say that we all must find a path to faith and following.  We must stop replacing our dependence on the Father with clinging to people, things, and activities that cannot satisfy.  The songs in my head are in a minor key these days but they are still directed at loving the Father and expressing my thankfulness for his provision.  My desire is that it becomes so ingrained in me to do this, that when things become easier, I do not abandon it one bit.  If we keep diving deeper into this Dear Reader, we may just find that there is much more to it than we ever imagined.  I would be encouraged to hear your gratitude stories about the providence of the Father.  

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
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14 November 2018

Gratitude Stories ~ When I am the Villain in the Story

Greetings Dear Reader,

I read a quote recently that I had to ponder for a bit.  This gratitude story revolves around a truth that is central to everything about becoming better at all the things that matter.  The first quote that got my mind turning around this idea is “remember that you are the villain in someone else’s story.”  In truth, I am.

Some of the people I have failed see me this way.  Their anger and pain, partially caused by me, is focused on the things that I did wrong.  I do not dispute that.  I am seeking forgiveness where I can and seeking to become a better man.  It is important that I make it clear that no current improvement or awareness lessens the wrongness of my wrong. 

There is a way out of every wrong thought, attitude, and action.  This part of the journey is teaching me that with some infections one must debride much necrotic tissue in order to find what can heal.  The debriding process is very painful and odious.  Here is the quote that made me realize that I am in the throes of this debriding process:

“You will never get the truth out of a Narcissist. The closest you will ever come is a story that either makes them the victim or the hero, but never the villain.”  ― Shannon L. Alder

I am determined to own my failures and offer my regrets, apologies, and restitution where I can.  When I arrived here, I had to be open with people about that part of my journey.  As a dear friend who has rejected me said so clearly, “I am no hero.”  She is right.   I am not a victim in this area either.  I made wrong choices that hurt others.  I failed my family, my friends, and those who looked to me for an example.  The sin is on me where I made those choices.

I told a friend who lovingly responded to my request for forgiveness, “I am not asking you to trust me.”  I do not wish to lead or be trusted.  I wish to be invisible except for the few areas left in me that can reflect Christ.   The cure for narcissism is Jesus. As his cousin John said, “I am not worthy to unfasten his sandal…He (Jesus) must increase and I must decrease.”

Some will see this and claim that I am playing the martyr or the victim.  I am not.  I am walking through all the places that drive my inner fear in order to debride them.  When I told some people close to me that my greatest fear has always been being alone, they immediately found ways to abandon me.  I can see why they chose to do this.  It was the first step in the Father excising the necrotic tissue around my heart that kept me from letting him teach me that he is always there for me.  I have not learned it yet but I am closer than I was.  I am learning to be alone and to value that time.

I am the villain in some stories.  In some of those cases I deserve it.  My desire is to use this to see the villains in my stories and find a way to extend to them the same love and grace that I need from those I have wronged.  I am not the victim or the hero.

The victims are the moments of love, kindness, and grace that we need to show to each other.  The hero in the story is Jesus who promises to restore us all from our deepest dead-tissue hearts.  He assures us that he will make all things right again if we will allow him to debride us and heal our wounds.

We are all wounded and wailing.  We take it out on each other when what we need to do is allow Jesus to heal our hurts.  We need to evidence our faith that he will by loving others recklessly until that love heals them as well.  I realize that this is terrifying.  It is for me too Dear Reader.  “But God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind.”  Even the worst villain can be healed by this power through the real hero in the story.  This gratitude story is that everyone of us can become the one in the story rescued by that hero.         

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
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13 November 2018

Gratitude Stories ~ Errand of Mercy


Greetings Dear Reader,

I was sitting with a friend recently in the Salvation Army office.  We were there to sign up for bell ringing for the approaching Red Kettle Campaign.  The person with whom we were supposed to meet was delayed and the beautiful soul working the reception desk provided us with beverages and showed us to some comfortable chairs in the lobby.

We agreed that waiting was not an issue.  Whilst waiting we enjoyed our favorite pastime of people watching.  I use it for writing fodder and we both do it for prayer.  My friend and I often pray together for those we see in distress, struggling, or when we simply feel the need.  As an aside, others do not need to have a problem to need prayer from strangers about which they will never know.

As we people watched, a young man came into the lobby.  He approached the wonderful lady at the desk and explained that he needed a gas card to get to work.  The reception lady, Pat said that they were out of gas cards until later in the week.  We both observed that the young man was crestfallen and looked panicked. 

I could tell from the way Pat interacted with him that he was sincere.  She even said to him that she had no cash or she would give it to him.  My friend did not hesitate, but I want to tell you his situation.  I happen to know that my friend only has about $15 to his name.  I lured him to the Salvation Army office in hope that he could get some assistance.

Without pondering it at all he got up and approached the young man in need.  I could hear him speak, “Sir, do you realize how much God loves you?”  Without hesitation he took money out of his pocket and gave it to the guy.  He then proceeded to pray for the man to find a deep understanding of God’s love for him.  Everyone in the room froze.  We all knew we were seeing love in action and it captured us.

This reminded me clearly of how the Father has everything worked out in advance.  We were glad we were delayed.  In my own dire situation, I know that the pieces are moving in the same way.  I simply need to keep my faith and keep learning how to trust that the Father is never late.  My gratitude story is getting to see someone with great need choose to give instead of take.  What are your stories of gratitude where you see others give?

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
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