Tag Archive | faith journey

The Choice is Ours

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Everyone’s faith is their own
We can be wise or naive
Misplace our trust
Ruin our intentions…
The choice is ours…

Everyone’s journey belongs to them
We all slug through valleys
Celebrate on mountain tops
Views of each leg of it few…
The choice is ours…

Everyone for themselves must decide
We believe Christ is Christ
Our Savior and Our Lord
Whose sacrifice from sin sets us free or not…
The choice is ours…

Everyone gets the opportunity
We all can say yes
We all can say no
We all must bear the consequences…
The choice is ours…

Not everyone will make the right choice
For some it’s hard to imagine saying no
For others to say yes they can’t do
Some thing, someone stands in the way…
But, the choice is ours.
             d.f.a.v. 10 / 7 / 14
–Donna

Good Morning Lord

Good morning Lord, it’s me

Calling on You again

Before I forget let me say

How awesome You have been.

You are the Alpha and Omega

The Author of our lives

You’ve given us our very breath

Even blessings in disguise.

This morning Lord I come

With just one thing to say

I must tell You “Thank You”

That I’m alive on this day.

What’s ahead I do not know

But this much is for sure

You will walk beside me

Or carry me towards the shore.

My blessings are so many

I cannot begin to count

Husband, child, church family

Answered prayers begin to mount.

I’m alive in such an age

When I know I shouldn’t be

Yet You alone know my time

Here is where You keep me.

Today Dear Abba Father

Use me to do Your will

Glorify Your kingdom

Though I be well or ill.

Help me be a blessing

To someone else in need

Help me to remember

You are read in my deeds.

Good morning Abba Father

Thank you another sunrise

Pour Your spirit deep within me

Defeat through me Satan’s lies

None of us are useless

Though we are not the same

You made us in Your image

You know each of us by name.

Good morning Heavenly Father

Let my life to You be praise

For all I have to offer You

Is the love in me You raise.

 

May we rise to bless Him!

-Faye

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Into the World

Seems like all I have wrestled with the past week are the forced acknowledgements of how uncomfortable I am in the world. Frankly, it drives me nuts. There’s nothing to upset my apple cart more than a trip into the world, no matter how brief, how fun, or how refreshing in the moment for once I’m back home, I find a stale and bitter taste in my mouth.

I have, in my forced exile from the world, come to immensely crave the isolation. A danger I foresaw, for who knows me better than I except God? Herein lies the reason I never willingly sought the status of disabled, why I fought to keep focused on the goal of being in the daily workplace, because I knew I would come to choose to remain isolated and with my own thoughts for company once forced to acknowledge how ill fitted for the world I am.

Recently my husband, our daughter and our niece took a brief and whirlwind three day weekend to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg in Tennessee. Travel is hard for me since the amputation and the spread of the Lymphedema to other areas of my body. But for a few hours on the Saturday afternoon of our trip I enjoyed being part of the tourists crowding the streets of Pigeon Forge. My husband forces my wheelchair into areas the world forgot to allow me access to being capable of lifting me and the chair up over curbs and not timid about asking or just telling people to get out of the way when they block the sidewalk or store aisle. On this Saturday we parked in the Old Mill area of Pigeon Forge and went in and out of overcrowded shops, had our picture made in an old-time photography shop and ate a marvelous lunch at the Old Mill restaurant (even if we did have to wait nearly an hour for a handicap accessible table). I felt much like I imagine a kid set lose in a candy store does during those few hours.

But all too quickly my body started reminding me of how uncomfortable it was and how ill-suited to travel. Our ways of adapting in our home didn’t work in a suppose-to-be-but-isn’t wheelchair accessible hotel room where even the bed was an issue. (It was so tall it came to the top of my hip making “hopping” up on it an adventure and fear of falling off it a possibility.)

So we returned home and I was grateful to be back. Back to where I am more comfortable. Back to where we’ve ironed out far more of the wrinkles in the fabric of being disabled for me and my family.

Only I heard and saw and tasted the message of the world. “Look what you’re missing! Isn’t this fun? See? Feel? Come experience! Come play! Come be us!”

But I can’t. The same world reminds me I can’t.

“No! Keep your wheelchair away from here!”

“No! You can’t eat yet, there are only six tables where we can put your wheelchair and 51 others we can’t so wait.”

“No! We put up rails in the bathroom, wait for someone to help you if you can’t use the standard size accommodations!”

“No! You can’t swim here!”

“No! You can’t! No! No! No!”

So I wrestle with shutting the voice of the world out of my mind. I seek solace in scriptures ancient and true. I seek comfort in the arms of a Heavenly Father who doesn’t reject me. I seek a way to express myself that the world will welcome or at least accept. I turn to the modern world of technology seeking a connection and find a weird sense of being anything but connected. My mind whirls and sleep does not come.

Prayers ooze out of me with a desperate plea about them.

John wrote in I John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

I fear.

I am always human here.

I sin here. I sin in my need to be accepted for superficial appearances and for superficial reasons. I sin and I do so in my inability to accept this twist of life.

But I am on my way home. Truly my home where my body won’t be ravaged by disease. Where the accommodations will be perfect. Where I won’t want to go anywhere or do anything that someone will say “No” to. Home. Home where the perfect love reigns and the message isn’t buried beneath layers of “stuff”. Home where expressing myself isn’t an issue at all because the selfishness that drives my ego of self is silenced by the much stronger need to worship and express my love for God.

If only I could get that down here I would be much more like Paul who wrote in Philippians 4:11-13, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is like to be in need, and I know what it is like to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who give me strength.”

Meanwhile I am more in the mindset of David who wrote in Psalm 40:12, “For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me.”

-Faye

Life Message

Life may have

taken a body part,

broken my heart,

discouraged my

spirit, & tested

my faith but I am

still here. Why?

Because my God
is

stronger, better,

greater,
more

enduring and totally

undefeatable! I am

His daughter, His

hier and after

this life I have

a whole new life

with Him
in eternity!

So LIFE bring

it on, in the end

God wins!

Of All the Men I Loved Before


Today’s post touches on a subject of much controversy in the Christian church, homosexuality. There is no need to respond with the multitude of Biblical passages concerning God’s view of this topic. Both Mitch, the man in the story, and myself know all of them. Instead this post is intended to put a face on the controversy and perhaps help us all not only understand but find a common ground to work towards healing in and of all parts of this issue. It is a true story, one of my own, which I believe may surprise a few of my readers but I did change the name of this man to Mitch to protect not his identity but his privacy.

God brought my spouse into my life when I was 35, I was 36 when we married. We’ve been married 16 years after only a four month courtship. We had much in common from the beginning; a love of and for God, bad examples of marriage in our parents, music, and a desire to have a successful marriage, just to name a few. Before God, our pastor and quite a few of our congregation we vowed to love one, and to remain married to one another until death did us part.

Our promise to one another every single day, whether spoken verbally or not has been, divorce is not an option. We’ve had our share of difficult patches. But we have worked through it, together, getting whatever professional help we needed as individuals or as a couple to help. Today we share a home with our almost twelve year old daughter, the ups and downs of life with one of us disabled and the other in a career that keeps them away from home for long hours and at inconvenient times. I love my husband. He is a man who strives to please God and who takes his relationship with God very seriously. He is my desire. He is solid and dependable and kind. I can think of nothing that I’ve ever asked of, or from him, that he hasn’t moved mountains to provide. Whenever I am in the hospital he moves in right along beside me, taking care of me, holding my hand and in the time his job takes him away as anxious to return to me as I am to have him return. This man has even learned to wash my hair using five gallon buckets or trash cans (clean of course) and trash can liners to prevent spills while I lay with my head hanging off the edge of the bed. Even between the time we have called 9-1-1 and the time they arrived.

The only times my mind ever wanders back to the men I dated before my husband are if someone else brings them up or my daughter mentions something that reminds me of a lesson I learned the hard way that I hope she hears to save herself the heartache. There is no one I’d like to “catch up with” or talk to again. Except Mitch.

Mitch and I dated, hung out, and drove one another crazy during our college days. He was initially a friend of my brothers and normally my brother’s dislike of us sharing friends would have been enough to keep me away from being Mitch’s friend but this time was different. I really liked Mitch. He and I clicked.

Mitch was Christian, cute and kind, serious and funny, reserved, quiet, shy, and introvert for the most part and could play the piano like nobody’s business! Boy could he make those ebony and ivory keys dance. My best memories of us are of me just sitting near him while he rehearsed or he just played for the love of playing. He didn’t mind when I sang along and he didn’t hesitate to follow me when my mood took the music and notes into other styles than what they were written.

Music was Mitch’s dream then and he wanted to go to a private college near the town my brother and I grew up in and he got his start on his dream. When he was accepted there as a student we helped him move into his housing assignment. I knew I was going to miss Mitch like crazy but I also knew I’d get to see him if he went to college so close to my home. I don’t think three weeks went by and classes were just really gearing up at both colleges when I looked up and there was Mitch. He was back!

We drove around in Mitch’s car to aught up. You would have thought he’d been gone a few years instead of just a few weeks by the amount of talking that went on. My brother had a thing about back seats and he still wasn’t happy about how close Mitch and I were, so he had claimed “shot gun”. For once I didn’t let it irritate me, I sat in the back behind Mitch and all through the drive Mitch would catch my eyes in the rearview mirror until it was too dark to see. I was just content to have him back. Finally we pulled up to all go our separate ways and my brother asked Mitch a question, “So, why did you really give it up?”

Mitch turned on the interior light, and waited until I met his eyes in the rearview mirror and said, “What I love is here.” And my heart stopped beating and the air left my lungs and then I’d never been that happy before. He came back for me!

That one night I expected a fairy tale ending. That one night I built castles in the air and wore rose colored glasses. But the fairy tale shattered.

Sadly Mitch and I just couldn’t make it. Not for lack of love but perhaps for a lack of the right kind of love. As perfect as Mitch was in my eyes he was waging a war within himself I couldn’t contend with, or compete with. My funny, cute, marvelous piano playing man was gay.

The music died, the spotlight flickered out and I was left alone on an empty stage before an empty audience. Not that I didn’t try to make being straight more appealing but some things are beyond our ability to influence. Frankly, Mitch and I drove one another crazy with an on again/off again friendship sort of more kind of relationship.

I tried to understand. My mind grasped the events that led Mitch down the path of homosexuality but my heart was shattered. Of all the people to do this to me it crushed me that it was Mitch! Mitch the guy who said he loved me in front of my brother! Mitch the man who could fill my heart and soul with music! Mitch the man who remembered everything I told him even down to that I wanted a gold chain when I graduated from college and bought me one like I’d never seen before, or seen again. Mitch who would grin knowingly when I’d date another guy! Perhaps I was too hurt but I think the main problem was I just didn’t understand.

Mitch and I lost touch. I moved to Virginia and once he called me and said he was thinking of moving up there to be near me. He didn’t call again.

Meanwhile I was dating other men. A few of whom would also make that confession that would start with, “Faye, I have to tell you something…” and I would see Mitch’s face and hear his voice.

I learned to be kinder. I learned to be more understanding and more forgiving. I learned to treasure these men’s friendships. I learned it was time to let them go when they would say, “Faye, if I were straight I’d marry you.” For they weren’t straight. And in my heart of hearts I knew if I wasn’t “woman enough” for Mitch to change I wasn’t for any of these friends either. Besides none of them were my cute, funny, kind, piano playing man Mitch and I didn’t love a single one of them.

After a few years I just stopped dating. I focused on the healing I needed from my own childhood burdens and battles. I told God when He was ready for me to get married He’d have to hit me upside the head with the man because I was through with dating. Shortly thereafter I met my husband to be.

In the last four or five years though I’ve wondered more about what became of Mitch. I would hear things now and then but nothing concrete, nothing certain. Then through all of the social media we have today I located him. We talked a couple times and typical Mitch, he dropped out of my life again. Recently we’ve talked a few times and the connection seems steadier yet only time will tell.

I don’t have a deep insight to Mitch’s life now. We’ve stuck to the current lives we’re living without diving into the past. Should we have a conversation that covers all the old ground all I would want to say to him is that I’m sorry. I’m sorry I wasn’t a better friend to him then. I’m sorry I never really understood his battle. I’m sorry for the hurt he’s had and the pain he’s carried. I’m sorry we haven’t been a part of one another’s lives. I’m sorry he gave up playing the piano.

Mitch has his own insights into not only our friendship/not a relationship but not just a friendship and of course into his sexuality. I hope one day he’ll share them with me. But in his time, not mine. I sent him this blog before posting it for his approval. So I break no promise of secrecy in sharing.

Meanwhile I will pray for him and remember there are numerous faces behind the word homosexuality and all the controversy. One of those faces is my friend, Mitch.

-Faye

Wheeltracks in the Sand

During worship yesterday the poem by Mary Stevenson Zangara “Footprints in the Sand” came to my mind. Since her original poem is copyrighted I will not repeat it here and besides many of you will have read it numerous times. However, I offer a poem that I hope will also be inspiring.

Though inspired, in part, by Mary Stevenson Zangara’s poem, “Footprints in the Sand” this poem below is my own work and from a different perspective.

 

I’ve no doubt I’ve come thus far

Through all life’s ups and downs

Because when I was unable to go on

Jesus helped me get around.

One set of wheeltracks,

One set of footprints.

Into His arms He’s lifted me

And carried me through the fight

Soothed my weary soul and heart

Through many day and many night.

        One set of footprints.

 

When death came knocking at the door

Jesus held me close to Him

And death has passed me for now

This time, that time and time again…

        One set of footprints.

The road ahead I cannot see

I trust in God to see me home

The wheelchair now shows its use

And Jesus footsteps show the way.

        One set of wheeltracks,

        One set of footprints.

 

Yet shining clearly in the evening sun

Is a beach at Heaven’s shore

And just at the ocean’s edge

I can see Heaven’s door.

        One set of wheeltracks,

        One set of footprints.

The wheelchair tracks are clearly seen

Deep grooves dug in the sand

Then Jesus steps and takes my hand

And at last there are two sets of footprints

Two sets of footprints in the sand.

 

As Heaven’s door swings open wide

My last earthly breath a brief goodbye

Then our feet walk through the door

Two sets of footprints left in the sand.

And on the other side, just out of sight

With tears rolling from my eyes

I’ll kneel at my Savior’s feet

Before Him prostate I will fall

 

Then when He bids me rise

A look of joy on His face

He’ll give His nod of consent

And I will dance, and run for Him.

I know in Heaven I won’t look back

To this earth again

But if I should I know I’d see

An empty wheelchair on the shore

And at the end

Two sets of footprints in the sand.

 

Till we’re all home together,

-Faye

I Am Not These Men

I’m blessed with two friends that write beautiful blogs.

One has such an eloquent and simple way of bringing the scripture into everyday situations that I want to write just like him. He touches people lives with God’s Word through his words on a daily basis. His name is Dusty. He writes Devoted Conversations.

The other I personally think of as the Nicholas Sparks of Christian writing for he has the ability to draw his readers into the situations and you feel as if it is happening to you. Or at the very least you are an eye witness to the events unfolding. I want to write just like him. His name is Duane and he writes Scribing the Journey.

Problem is I can’t write like either man for I’m neither of them.

The other problem is that there are times I want to be both of them. I want both of these men’s respect as a blogger/writer. I want both of these men’s talent. These realizations have had me disappointed in myself the past few days.

I’m not devoting my writing skills to either of these other bloggers, am I?

It’s not their interpretation of life as a Believer I am sharing, is it?

It’s not their readers I’m speaking to, is it?

I’m not jealous, am I?

God Himself can bear witness to the fact that I pray often for Him to help me write what it is He wants me to write. Whether it’s blogging or working on my novel or spilling out poetry I want it to honor God. I come to Him and I ask Him to help me keep it real, to help me pull back the curtains on my own heart and say with all honesty, “Here, this is what life as a Believer, who is a woman such as I, is like.”

So why have I been wanting to blog like Dusty? Or Duane?

Because I admire their writing abilities. I know Dusty well enough to know he lives his life as a devoted Believer with integrity. I know Duane to be the same. I am blessed to count them both as Christian brothers and friends.

But I can’t be them.

I can’t write like them.

God doesn’t give me their writing assignments.

I am me, warts, pimples and all. I don’t always get my life as a Believer right. I struggle to understand Scripture written thousands of years ago and apply it to modern day circumstances. I often write through a haze of depression and physical pain. I am not a man. The most formal education I have in regards to seminary is one New Testament class and a few other “electives” taught in a satellite class nearly twenty years ago. But, I really am okay with who I am.

This is MY faith walk. Not Dusty’s. Not Duane’s. Not yours. It is between me and God.

So, whether I make the impact on people’s lives that Dusty or Duane do, does it matter? Not to me if it doesn’t matter to God. It can’t matter to God or else He’d be giving me their assignments. Deep sigh, deep breath, exhale, relax and pray.

Your walk with God isn’t my walk either. It’s yours. Uniquely yours. No one can do it for you. No one cannot do it for you either. God is as close to you as you will allow Him to be. He loves you, warts, pimples, scars, fears, brokenness, sins and all.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (emphasis mine)

May we all find the Way to the Father God in the way He assigns to each of us uniquely.

When Thomas asked, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except thought me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14: 6-7

One way, one truth, one life, one gate. It’s our faith journey of passing through Him that is unique and solely our own. What a wonderful faith walk it is!

-Faye

DIY or DYI

After my father-in-law’s beloved passed away he wanted to come visit us for a while. We had just gotten our first home and we badly needed a porch and a ramp. So my father-in-law came down and he and my husband were eager to take on this project. Larry* assured us he knew what to do and my husband was confident it was a simple enough project for a DIY job.

I admit I had a few red flags going up in my mind as I heard the pair of men talking. Larry was confident they could do the job and my husband was eager to become a DIY pro. What did I know about building a deck with a ramp? Nothing that I hadn’t seen on numerous HGTV shows and that wasn’t in the trenches knowledge. So I held my tongue and the two men piled our shopping card high with drills, saws, screws, nails, work gloves, footings, braces, levels, measuring tape, work horses; it looked like we were outfitting a workshop by the time we were done shopping. We arranged for the lumber to be delivered.

The next day I went off to work and the men began work on the deck. We repeated the arrangement for three days. In those three days the pair had made a few more runs to the home improvement stores, burned out a drill and at last we had an 8×8 deck with a ramp. It only cost us around $500 in supplies and if you threw in the cost of Larry’s plane ticket we spent a little over $800. The men were proud of themselves. Who was I to worry about it swaying when anyone walked across it? That was the deck “settling”, perfectly normal.

A few months later my husband and I came in from work well after dark. He went on ahead to unlock the front door and was standing in front of it while I was just about half-way up the ramp when the “slight swaying” we’d experienced turned into more of an amusement park ride complete with fright, lacking in fun. The support beams went one way, the decking another, nails and screws went flying, braces were popping and my husband and I went down with the deck. Praise God neither of us was hurt. It was a complete loss. A DIY turned DYI – Do Yourself In.

We laugh now about our roller coaster ride in our front yard and our $1200 deck that measured 8×8 without including the ramp. Grateful that the Brotherhood Ministry of our church came to our rescue when I began getting dangerously sick and built us a solid deck and that they were able to re-use some of the decking wood from our original purchase. Our DYI is a great metaphor to a DIY approach to our walk with Christ.

Paul told the Philippians in Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work our your salvations with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” And he repeatedly warns throughout his letters to the churches in the New Testament to beware of false teachers, of being led astray by people who had been deceived and of being deceived themselves.

(Least anyone be confused, salvation is a gift of God to us through the death of His Son on Calvary’s cross, who died and rose from the grave to bridge the gap between the Holy Father and we, His creations. It cannot be earned according to Scripture. The only way to receive salvation, a restoration of the created to the Creator is through Jesus Christ as He Himself told His disciples responding to a question from Thomas in John 4:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” And Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith—and this not from yourselves it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” So I will often refer to working out your own salvation as your Faith Journey instead of your salvation. Simply for a means of clear communication.)

There are some very practical approaches to working out your own salvation that we as Christians must remember to follow:

  1. Pray. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you as you read the Bible and study the writings it contains. Ask for enlightenment and for Godly wisdom.
  2. Be careful not to take a verse or passage of verses out of context and apply it to other situations, both from the Bible and from the life you are living now. While it is true that John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” could be the only scripture necessary to start a Believer’s faith journey, in order to build a solid spiritual life you need the whole Bible, not just bits and pieces.
  3. Have a plan. Failure to plan can have you riding down your DIY salvation as it crumbles beneath you.
    1. Spend time in God’s word daily. Not just a quick reading of a few verses and a dash of a prayer but time you truly devote to enriching your salvation.
      1. A devotional time is fantastic and needs to be a part of your spending time in God’s word but as we mature in our salvation we must seek the meat not the milk. Hebrews 5:12-14 through 6:1-3 reads, “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food. Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore, let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.”
      2. Study from any number of available Bible study aids that are helping you learn Biblical truths. Seek out teachers of God’s word, ministers, pastors, friends who are further along in their walk than you and LEARN from them.
      3. As you learn, do not be afraid to question what you are being taught to be sure it is based on sound Biblical foundations. If what you are being told is the Spiritual truth then it will be supported by Scripture.
      4. If something doesn’t make sense, suppose what you are learning appears to be Biblically supported but the Holy Spirit within you isn’t at peace then pray, seeking the intervention of the Holy Spirit to guide you. Be sure the Scripture you are being given as proof of the teaching is supported by more than one Scripture and that it hasn’t been pieced together with bits and pieces of verses that have been supported by inadequate foundational material. You are building on your Faith house and it must have a solid foundation. See Matthew 7:24-27.
  4. Allow yourself adequate time to improve your Faith Journey. Working out your salvation takes time. A solid foundation is key. Your plan needs to be one that sees the larger picture, but also the smaller steps necessary to get there. Don’t take it all on at once! You will be overwhelmed, discouraged and quit. As a marathon runner in this Faith journey you must remember what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 9:24-27, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified from the prize.”

My husband and his father took on a project neither of them really had knowledge enough to complete. Instead of seeking help they dove into building that deck based on their own reasoning and limited experience. The only plans they had were in their heads and their plans didn’t look the same in both their minds so when decisions had to be made they were made based on what the individual was thinking not one plan. Perhaps using the right tools for the job would have meant once screws were drilled in they stayed where they were placed. Our deck lacked a solid foundation so when the winds and rains of everyday use came it collapsed like a deck of cards hit by the hands of an angry three-year-old.

My deepest encouragement for your Faith journey! Pray. Study. Pray. Invest the necessary time for it will make the whole of your life sweeter in the long term. And of course, as revealed to Timothy in II Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

-Faye