Archive for September, 2013


Word of the Week: depone

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Tomorrow: The MIP Book Club officially starts! Do you have your copy of Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer? Click here for the MIP reading plan for it and links on how to order the book, if you don’t have it already.

Last week’s Word of the Week (WOW) was tourbillion. One of the MIP readers knows this word…for sure, thanks to a hubby who has a particular hobby. And if you think this hobby is knowing a lot of math terms, you would be wrong! Tourbillion, according to Merriam-Webster Online, refers to a whirlwind or the vortex of a whirlwind  or whirlpool. My guesses were way off. How about yours???

This week’s WOW is: depone. Here are my guesses for it:

depone: (di-ˈpōn) 1. one depot. 2. when Al Capone is dethroned. 3. to refrain from eating corn pone as in “The Help”

What’s your guess? Submit a comment below and let’s see who’s closest!

Wednesday’s Post: All the special ladies…

You might also like: Word of the Week: tourbillion; Word of the Week: orgulous; Word of the Week: boffin; and Word of the Week: tchotchke


Word of the Week: tourbillion

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Notice anything new about the MIP web site this morning??? If not, look up at the page tabs right above the dark blue “stripe” above this post. Yes, you found it! It’s the tab for the MIP Book Club! Go peruse that new page right now…it’s okay…I’ll wait! Needless to say, I’m excited about the Book Club and I hope you are, too! Keep up with the Book Club by clicking on that page periodically. I plan to announce the book for October very, very soon!

Good morning, Word Lovers! Last week’s Word of the Week (WOW) was orgulous. Merriam-Webster Online says that orgulous means proud. So, if your oldest kid just got a promotion, you could say you’re orgulous. If your middle kid is finishing up her master’s degree at a rather prestigious university, you could say you’re orgulous. And if your youngest is actually doing his homework as a freshman at another university, you could also say you’re orgulous. And yes, I get to say I’m orgulous on all 3 of those counts!

This week’s word is tourbillion. Here are my guesses for tourbillion:

tourbillion: (tur-ˈbil-yən)1. the number of tours cancelled if a cruise line has had a series of unfortunate events all in one year 2. the number of tourniquets used for a Sharknado movie 3. the number of bicycle tires used in the Tour de France

What’s your guess for tourbillion? I’m guessing that my mathematician readers already know this one!

Wednesday’s Post: Lessons Learned from Attending My First Women of Faith Conference…

You might also like: Word of the Week: orgulous; Word of the Week: boffin; Word of the Week: tchotchke; and Word of the Week: roseate


Lessons Learned from Being the Rookie Parent…

birthday cake

Warning: You might want to get your favorite beverage first.


The eldest son has his birthday tomorrow and a good birthday it’s going to be: he gets to return to his alma mater and watch a football game with his younger brother, who hopes to make the same university his alma mater in about 4 years. He will also join his dad and one of his good college buddies and his wife for the day. He is making his own way and making his parents very proud in the process. I wouldn’t say that I was always sure that would happen when he was a youngster! He, like many young boys, was rather rambunctious and curious and that often got him into some mischief.

But, probably his worst problem? Having rookie parents. So, here’s what the eldest son has taught those parents on the way to making us proud:

1. Pray for a son to be born to you. Have great people join you in those prayers. Pray to the God who managed to solve infertility problems for an elderly husband and wife. If he can do that and get a virgin preggers, he can solve your fertility problems, too.

2. Don’t let your anger show when disciplining your child, even if justified. Why? Because that is the exact same temper he will show you when he’s 17. Conclusion: I have a nasty temper.

3. Matchbox race tracks are a waste of money. Buy a parking garage instead.

4. The box the race track and the parking garage came in will later be used as train cars and will be played with more often than the parking garage.

5. Do not have single uncles buy your children toys at Christmas. They buy all the noisy, obnoxious ones.

6. Lego bricks hurt just as much as Barbie high heels at night when the lights are off.

7. I am not a great parent at 7 pm when I have to get 3 children in bed on my own after a full day’s work. Forget reading to my children. Why? That very question is why I didn’t read to them. They kept asking “Why?” after everything I read. Add a lack of patience to my resume of shortcomings as a parent.

8. If you teach a kid his addition facts, he will carve them in his bunk bed and above the light socket in your bedroom. How do you solve that issue? Bigger bed quilt and move your bed in front of the light socket.

9. A kid may actually learn to read the words on the flashcards if his little sister is banned from the room.

10. A kid may actually get to practice his piano lesson in peace if you get his little sister lessons, too.

11. Sometimes it’s okay if your child gets in trouble at school….if he’s in the process of helping a fellow student and forgot to ask permission to do that.

12. Sometimes your kid does have to take on a bully and let it be known that bullying will no longer be tolerated or ignored.

13. Even the most non-artistic parents in the world can sometimes produce an artist.

14. You can probably conclude that your son is starting to think about someone else when he picks your anniversary date as his football jersey number.

15. Volunteering can lead to your destiny.

16. You learn how tough your kid is when he is faced with his weakest moments.

17. Never underestimate the power of a girlfriend.

18. You think those movies your kid watches are a complete waste of time. Instead your kid is designing Christian retreat materials from them.

19. When your son doesn’t do well at school, never underestimate his ability to change, to admit he was wrong and to turn the situation completely around.

20. What you thought was stubbornness and stoicism turns out to be persuasive coaching and careful listening.

21. What you thought was just a part-time “character-building” job turns out to be precisely what leads him to his career.

22. Just when you think he may be on your payroll for the next five years due to a horrible recession, he finds a way to get off of it.

23. In the middle of becoming his own man, he will change the destiny of someone else–a sweet, abandoned little puppy girl.

24. Just when you think he’s completely different from his parents, he will start a career that strangely resembles his dad’s.

25. Just when you think he no longer needs you, he’ll start calling frequently just to tell you that he loves you.

26. When he is frustrated and worried about his job, you are, too.

27. The best of being that rookie parent is still yet to be…he likes to surprise us by doing the impossible and doing it well.

Happy Birthday, Big Guy! We love you.


Monday’s Post: Are you orgulous?

You might also like: Lessons Learned from De-Kidding the House and Lessons Learned from Being a Pansy and No, I Don’t Mean the Flower 


“Because I Want to Be With You…”


Warning: You may need two of your favorite beverages first. 

Several months ago, prior to the summer health adventures, very few were reading my blog. And rightly so. I am a fledgling, evolving writer and even one of my very favorite writers/speakers, Jon Acuff, would tell you that his own blog had much the same following in his “early days.” But for some crazy reason, I still felt that God was convicting me to write this blog. And my blog had few references to Godly things, so I really wondered why I felt so convicted. Was I delusional? Definitely a possibility.

One day, quite uncharacteristically of me, I quit doing all the talking in my prayer to God. Instead (and no, I have no idea why I chose to quit being “me” that day), I paused and asked, “God, why am I so convicted to write this blog if very few are reading it?” A very still, very small voice from within me answered, almost immediately, “Because I want to be with you.” Now, I grant you that voices inside my head are probably an indication that I need to check myself into the psych ward pronto, but it didn’t seem like the sort of thing I would say to myself, even if I was developing psychosis or trying to become the modern-day equivalent of Sybil. There are lots of days when I really don’t want to be with me!

So, what did I finally conclude from such a statement? The very scary, very weird notion that God might actually be answering me. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, pinched myself to be sure that I wasn’t dreaming, consulted the DSM to make sure I didn’t fit the criteria for immediate hospitalization, and took several deep breaths, I did the next most logical thing: I burst into tears.

As usual, I had completely missed the point. I thought the purpose for writing a blog was to help people or entertain people. I thought that for those two things to occur, a lot of people had to read it. I thought I was doing it to be obedient to God. It had never occurred to me that God would use it merely to show me more of Himself, to deepen our relationship and…the most scariest of all…to help me.

I don’t do “receiving help” well. I never have. Is this a fault? Yes, I think God was telling me exactly that with that little “statement.” So, I stopped trying to look up my web “stats” every day. The reality is that I don’t understand 90% of them anyway, so what difference does it make?

Enter the heart attacks. Now, I’m not sure what to think about the heart attacks in light of the above. Am I to conclude that I was, dare I say it, starting to be one of those women who, upon waking, Satan says, “Darn. SHE’s up!” and therefore, putting me out of commission for a while might thwart any good I might put out into my small “universe”? I suppose I could, but there are tons of other people in the world that do far more good than I and they’re not generally being struck down in epidemic proportions. Should I conclude that there are even more lessons for MaryAnn to learn from such experiences? This is a much more comfortable notion for me and the one I chose to ponder.

Thankfully, God did choose to use that time to, indeed, teach MaryAnn even more, such as the really simple concept (that someone my age should have grasped a long time ago) that a real relationship with God is a two-way conversation, in which I ask questions and actually wait for God’s reply. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that that is not my strong suit–the waiting for a reply!

I’m not going to divulge all of what resulted from me becoming mute and God doing more of the talking because some of it makes for good reading in a future novel (Hint, hint–or at least I’d like to think that!), but one fact that He’s been hitting me in the head with a “2 x 4” is: What are you willing to sacrifice to further other people’s walks with Me? Wow. Okay. I’m officially toast. Why? Because when I look at the ultimate “two-way conversation” which I think is Jesus talking to God, He sacrificed everything for that. And He’s supposed to be my role model for this. Yikes!

Now, in some cases, the sacrifice is not too difficult. Cheer people on. Be less judgmental and let Jesus and God do that stuff. Be kind. Do nice things for other people. Be a servant. Read your Bible regularly. Read Christian books. Write your blog. Write your book. Commiserate. Pray for people. Think more about others and less about yourself. I can do that stuff. It’s do-able, if I just make sure that’s my focus each and every day as much as I humanly can muster.

But, here are the things that I will probably struggle to sacrifice for the rest of my life:

1. Give up being well thought of by your friends and family. (I don’t do “lonely” well.)

2. Give up power. (At first I thought I had little power to sacrifice, but power is a much larger concept now that I’m contemplating what it means to give it up.)

3. Give up agreeing with the lies of our society, including the ones I have helped to perpetrate and the ones that are popular with today’s society and even Christian society.

4. Speak the truth in love.

5. Search your own heart for your own hypocrisy and “pull those weeds.” (Since I’m allergic to most “weeds,” I think this is going to be a really long process!)

6. Consider that your own pain and eventual death may be the exact thing that brings someone to Christ.  (I find it hard to fathom that my death could do that, but the more important question is whether or not I’m prepared to do that, no matter what it means for me.)

Jesus said very unpopular things. He embraced the ostracized of his day–in fact, he hung out with them on a regular basis. He was often at odds with the religious leaders of his day–the very people who were supposed to be pointing the way to Him! He was expected to seize power and overwhelm “the enemy.” He was supposed to do this for a very long time, well-protected from pain and harm. He was supposed to be famous. He was supposed to be well-regarded.

As a result of saying unpopular things, embracing the ostracized, ticking off His very own religious leaders, not seizing power and not overwhelming the enemy, he was whipped, subjected to multiple stab wounds and then subjected to one of the most painful forms of death ever known to man. Those who chose to follow this same path often were imprisoned, beaten, tortured, crucified themselves, and lived in abject poverty most of their lives.

We have even more modern examples: our founding fathers, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, war protesters of the 1960s, Nelson Mandela and many others that I’m probably forgetting. And my very own family did admittedly minor versions of this, but yet “bucked” the mores of their time. My family is traditionally a rather conservative group and we love our traditions, so to do this bucking meant to really turn some heads, endure name-calling, deal with heated arguments on a regular basis, risk injury and death, and risk job security and popularity. But now I am very proud of each of them for doing that. I get to say I’m part of that kind of family.

Now it’s my turn. And since I have a real “gift” for inserting my feet into my mouth on a regular basis, this is going to be anything but easy. And I absolutely abhor “confrontation” and losing friendships and the love of those around me. In fact that love and friendship is exactly what has sustained me this summer!

Please understand that if I feel God is indicating that I need to share the “Good News” or ask us all (myself included) to consider whether our behavior is where it should be, I am going to try and do exactly that. Does this mean I will quit hanging out with you if we disagree on some issues or you make choices different from those I would make? Nope. Honestly, God may be using you to teach me! I am “MaryAnn in Progress” and thus, bound to make mistakes. I’m thinking–BIG ONES! Please forgive me, if I offend you and make you really uncomfortable. Definitely not my intention at all.

Know this–I only do it with one intention: To assist you in making yourself as ready for your new home as possible. I plan on being the “event coordinator” for the “Welcome to Heaven” party in your honor. Why? Because I want to be with you.

Friday’s Post: Someone’s birthday is coming up…

You might also like: Things I Love about the Man I Married and How I Cope with a Heart that’s a Ticking Time Bomb


Word of the Week: orgulous

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Last week’s Word of the Week (WOW) was boffin. Merriam-Webster Online describes a boffin as a scientific expert. I doubt scientific experts will be referring to themselves as boffins anytime soon. Can you imagine the following conversation?

“What do you do for a living?”

“I’m a boffin.”

“I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the work of a boffin. What does a boffin do, exactly?

“They do technological research and speak about it.”


And then…stunned silence. I think we can safely never use boffin in a conversation ever again. What do you think?

Let’s hope this week’s WOW is a little more useful. It is orgulous. Here are my definition guesses for it:

orgulous: 1. a ridiculous orgy 2. a Hogwarts spell which results in organized boggarts (My hubby doesn’t have the faintest idea what this references) 3. a marvelous rendition of music by an  organ

What do you think orgulous means? Submit a guess below!

Wednesday’s Post: Not your run-of-the-mill post…

You might also like: Word of the Week: boffin; Word of the Week: tchotchke; Word of the Week: roseate; and Word of the Week: aegis


The Weirdest Diet on Earth: The Coumadin Diet…


Warning: War & Peace was shorter.

Whether I like it or not (and I don’t!) I am now being forced to change the very eating plan that led to me losing nearly 40 lbs. My doctor has placed me on Coumadin (generically known as Warfarin or Jantoven) in order to try and dissolve a blood clot that is apparently lodged in one of my heart ventricles. It is important for this drug to work, since I am at an increased risk for stroke if this clot doesn’t “evaporate” of its own accord.

Basically, Coumadin is an anti-coagulant of the nth degree and Vitamin K can hamper its ability to help me dissolve this clot. Most people can simply avoid leafy green veggies (I hate salad anyway) and avoid any Vitamin K interaction with Coumadin.

Unfortunately, it is starting to appear I am not one of these people. And finding out exactly which foods are high in Vitamin K is a bit like doing a study in contradiction. One medical source said that alcohol is okay in moderation; another completely contradicts this. One reliable source says that cranberries are not okay and another says they are. So, what’s a girl to do?

Enter The Coumadin Cookbook by Rene Desmarais, MD. Even cardiologists seem to respect the opinions in this book, so I’m trying to live by the list of foods it recommends. But, if you are trying to live on portion control and eat heart healthy foods, this diet will make one shake his or her head. Here are some of the foods that are actually okay on this diet:

Skinless apples (And here I thought the skin gave me more fiber…sigh)

Cinnamon raisin bagels (Oh, and I can put cream cheese on them, too.)

Beans and franks or baked beans with bacon (This would have made my mom happy, but she died from eating a heart healthy diet.)


Biscuits (And yes, gravy with the biscuits is okay. I just made all Southerners happy.)

Bologna (No word yet on whether the bologna has to have a first name, like O-s-c-a-r.)

Bread (of all kinds)

Fruitcake (Yes, the commercial kind, but I prefer Grandma’s more Scottish, refined, tasty and alcohol-free version.)

Twinkies (So glad now for that comeback of theirs.)

Caramels (This will not sit well with my dentist.)

Fudge (Guess what I will be making for Christmas “cookies” this year.)


Hard candies (But if I eat green apple Jolly Ranchers, do I have to take the “skin” off of them first???)

Jelly beans

Plain M & M’s (Never liked the peanut version anyway!)

Starburst Fruit Chews


Cola beverages (The Pepsi-Cola Company just breathed a sigh of relief. So did its stockholders.)

Lucky Charms (They’re magically delicious!)

Trix (And you thought Trix was for kids.)

Apple Jacks

Cocoa Krispies (I banned these from the household the day it required a crowbar to get them off my kitchen floor, thanks to the kids.)

Froot Loops (I suppose this variety is the colorful circular cereal variety and not the politicians in D.C.? I sure hope so, cuz I really don’t want to eat politicians, even if it would be a public service.)

Cap’n Crunch (This will give the hubby an excuse to return to his youth.)

Regular cream

Swiss cheese

Chocolate syrup

Nestle Quik

Cocoa mix

Coffee (yes, even with caffeine)



Corn oil


Regular egg noodles (Spinach noodles are bad)

Egg yolks


Hot dogs


Jell-O (I suppose there’s always room for Jell-O, particularly if it’s endorsed by my favorite comedian.)

Ice Cream (So, I can eat my hubby’s version without any guilt, right?)


Lard (Cousin Vinny would question that with the “ongoing cholesterol problem in the U.S.”)

Milk shakes

Macadamia nuts

Canned peaches

Peanut butter

Canned pears

Apple pie filling (canned)



Ready to eat puddings




Soy sauce


Sugar (Dr. Atkins just rolled over in his grave.)

Maple syrup (Is it Groundhog Day? ‘Cuz I’m thinking it’s time for flapjacks.)


Oh, and using butter (in moderation) is okay, but margarine is absolutely taboo. To be fair, there are some fruits, vegetables, and healthier protein sources than what I’ve listed above. And Dr. Desmarais does advise using the above foods sparingly to take further care of your heart. 

But, I knew my mother was lying when she said I had to eat my vegetables. Thanks for the needless dinnertime torture and emotional trauma, Mom.

Now…you’ll have to excuse me, I have to go fry some bacon in some lard and eat some Froot Loops.

Monday’s Post: Who is a boffin? Yes, that was a hint….

You might also like: 100 Things I Plan to Do Now that I Don’t Share My Home with Teens or Kids 


26 Tuesdays…the Finale!


If you have been following the 26 Tuesdays series on MIP, you may feel, as I do, that it sure took a long time to honor the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. The sad thing to realize is that many more have lost their lives in service to their country, through disease, and through other acts of violence while we were working on our own acts of kindness in this series.

Each and every day there are many, many people who deserve to be honored and remembered by each of us doing an act of kindness for them. That saying, “Kill them with kindness,” is ringing in my ears today and perhaps that was what was behind Ann Curry’s campaign for 26 Acts of Kindness. If we truly want to turn our world around, each of us needs to be intentional about getting out of our self-absorbed “cocoons” and doing something kind for someone else. Do some resort to “acts of meanness” because the world has not taken enough notice of their suffering? Of course. That is the cost of us being self-absorbed about our own pain. But, each and every day people rise above that very real pain, choose to be victorious survivors and turn their real horror stories into stories of triumph. If we can use them as our role models and meet evil with good as often as we can, perhaps a better world will result. And even if it doesn’t, perhaps we caused a few people to stop and think and maybe change a behavior or two here and there.

The movie, Pay It Forward, depicts how 3 acts of kindness by 1 young boy resulted in a massive movement across the U.S. All he requested from the recipients of his acts was for them to do the same. He didn’t even request 26 acts as I have asked of you and me. So, my dear readers, I hope you will make acts of kindness your new habit and simply look for opportunities to do things for others as often as you can. Who knows? We may change a country if we do, and maybe given enough time, change a world.

I am not going to spend today’s post by telling you all about my acts (yes, plural) of kindness for this week, but suffice it to say, the final MIP count now stands at 103! Not bad, gang! You deserve a pat on the back! Thanks for participating in this little campaign and keep going!

Thursday’s Post: The Weirdest Diet in the World?

You might also like: 26 Tuesdays: Allison N. Wyatt; 26 Tuesdays: Benjamin Wheeler; 26 Tuesdays: Victoria Soto; and 26 Tuesdays: Mary Sherlach


Word of the Week: boffin

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Last week’s Word of the Week (WOW) was tchotchke. Tough to even come up with a possible guess for this one, hunh??? Heck, I’m lucky if I can even spell it correctly! Merriam-Webster Online defines tchotchke as: knickknack or trinket. The next time I dust my tchotchkes I will let you know.

Today’s WOW is boffin. This one just sounds fun, doesn’t it??? So, here are my guesses for boffin:

boffin: (ˈbä-fən) 1. a casket for Bubba 2. coughing while be-bopping 3. bobbing for puffins

What’s your guess for boffin? Submit a guess below!

Tomorrow’s Post: The last 26 Tuesdays honoree

You might also like: Word of the Week: tchotchke; Word of the Week: roseate; Word of the Week: aegis; and Word of the Week: meretricious


Slow Reader Thursday: Heaven by Randy Alcorn…

Remember how I said I was pulling a “Jonah” on one of the books about death that I was feeling that God wanted me to read? Well, I finally came out of the “whale” and read it this summer. Heaven by Randy Alcorn is that book. It took a while to read–473 long, small-fonted pages, without adding in the multitude of appendices. Maybe this was one of the reasons why I chose to “run away” from reading it???

Alcorn contends that there are actually 2 Heavens referenced in the Bible: the one we presently go to upon our earthly death and the resurrected “New Earth” that develops after Christ’s return. The New Earth will be much like our present Earth, except that it will be devoid of anything that resulted from evil on our current planet, such as pollution and warfare.


Perhaps Alcorn‘s most salient point is that we tend to think that Heaven will be boring, but when we assume that, we fail to remember how God created us–as endlessly learning, exploring, discovering, and yes, ruling people. If we are such people on the New Earth, then we will find Heaven endlessly fascinating, if for no other reason than we can endlessly ask all the questions we have on our minds. Thus, we should look forward to our time in Heaven and thus, be a people who does not fear death.

Here are some of the quotes from Heaven that especially hit home with me:

1. “If God didn’t have a sense of humor, we…wouldn’t. That He has a sense of humor is evident in His creation. Consider aardvarks and baboons. Take a good look at a giraffe. You have to smile, don’t you?”

2. “The buds of this life’s greatest moments don’t shrivel and die; they blossom into greater moments, each to be treasured, none to be lost. Everything done in dependence on God will bear fruit for eternity. This life need not be wasted. In small and often unnoticed acts of service to Christ, we can invest this life in eternity, where today’s faithfulness will forever pay rich dividends.”

3. “…joy will be the air we breathe. And right when we think ‘it doesn’t get any better than this’–it will.”

Perhaps it’s time for you to stop being Jonah, too, and take a moment to learn about “Foreverland”, aka Heaven???


26 Tuesdays: Allison N. Wyatt…


Last week’s 26 Tuesday’s honoree was Benjamin Wheeler. On Friday I was literally using “the facilities” at a local restaurant and pondering what to do in honor of Benjamin. As I completed “my business,” I realized I was using the last of that particular roll of toilet paper. Out of sheer habit I discarded the empty tube, unwrapped a roll nearby and replaced it. It was only then that I realized I had just completed an act of kindness–not only for the next “inhabitant” of the restroom, but also for the staff of the restaurant, who happened to be quite busy with their noontime crowd.

I hope, as we honor our very last victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, that all of us, myself included, begin to do acts of kindness in just that way–as a matter of habit. The reality is that it takes very little money to fix the world’s problems. Often, all it takes is lots of people being kind in small and big ways each day. Imagine what the world would be like if all of us simply made acts of kindness a habit every day!

This now brings our MIP total of acts of kindness to: 97! I hope you will let me know about your act of kindness this week so we can get to the magical total of 100 by our last Tuesday next week. To do so, please submit a comment below. Thanks!

Our last honoree is Allison N. Wyatt. Here is what CNN had to say about Allison:

Allison N. Wyatt, 6
Once, Allison offered her snacks to a complete stranger on plane. That’s just the type of person she was. Allison was a “sweet, creative, funny, intelligent little girl who had an amazing life ahead of her,” her parents said. They described their daughter as kind-hearted. She loved to draw and wanted to be an artist. “She loved to laugh and was developing her own wonderful sense of humor that ranged from just being a silly 6-year-old to coming up with observations that more than once had us crying with laughter,” her parents said. “Allison made the world a better place for six, far too short years, and we now have to figure out how to move on without her … We love and miss her so much.”

It seems fitting that Allison was already doing her acts of kindness and that she is our last honoree! Let’s finish this MIP series with a strong finish in her honor!

Tomorrow’s Post: Heaven isn’t what we think…

You might also like: 26 Tuesdays: Benjamin Wheeler; 26 Tuesdays: Victoria Soto; 26 Tuesdays: Mary Sherlach; and 26 Tuesdays: Lauren Rousseau