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Transforming for a Life Worth Living by Sue A. Fairchild

Posted by Julie on January 20, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Transforming for a Life Worth Living

By Sue A. Fairchild

When I chose to quit my office job back in 2014, I thought it was simply because God wanted me to be a writer and an editor, not an insurance agent. I longed to read words all day long, not ponder over legal documents and settle claims. What I didn’t expect was how God would use the next several years of my life to transform me into a completely new being.

At first, I plugged along, seeking work and trying to find my comfort zone in my new career. Editing work came and I found myself suddenly busy, but something still didn’t seem right to me. Something was missing. Days and weeks passed and soon it was Christmas time. I felt excited because I finally had time to do up Christmas right – I decorated, made a plethora of cookies and other treats, and readied my home for guests. It was freeing to not face the 9-5 grind during the holidays, and I felt like I had all the time in the world to accomplish things. My in-laws were visiting as they do each Christmas and I had planned an overabundance of food and activities for their stay.

But, suddenly, plans changed. The day before Christmas my husband became ill with the flu. He spent the next two days in bed sweating and hallucinating while my guests tried to enjoy themselves. I ministered to my husband and tried to play hostess to my guests at the same time. Christmas Day came and I visited with my folks without my husband in tow. I was so exhausted I fell asleep on my parents’ floor and they soon sent me home saying we would celebrate at a later date. The next day, my in-laws decided to head home—two days early. I felt like a hostess failure.

My husband recovered a few days later, but my mother and father had taken on the flu as well. My mom, who suffers from COPD, was admitted to the hospital and spent the next ten days in the ICU. I visited every day. I checked on my father almost every day as well, cooked him food, and made sure he was getting fluids and medications. I asked for prayer from my church.

My husband and I celebrated New Year’s at my mother’s hospital bedside after being called by a nurse because Mom couldn’t breathe. We feared the worst and it was the most awful four hours of my life, but she made it through and eventually came home. I spent the bulk of the time between Christmas and New Year’s tending to houseguests and sick loved ones. When it was over, I suffered a week of migraines and spent some time in the local ER myself. It seemed like the holidays would never end.

But they did and life went back to normal. Once again I immersed myself in my new career and took on new clients. I was beginning to hit my stride, and I felt like my choice to leave my office job had been the right one. This was my calling.

Then, in January of 2016, my father had a heart attack and had to have double bypass surgery. Once again, I found myself tending to a sick loved one. For almost two months, I visited him every day and helped him to recover. Depression hit my father after weeks of being in bed. I prayed for him and almost never left his side. Slowly, he recovered and, once again, I returned to the normalcy of my job.

During those two years, I often commented that if God had not led me away from my 9-5 office job, I wouldn’t have had the time to dedicate to my parents or my husband during their times of illness. If I hadn’t left the security of a weekly paycheck, my parents would have had to face many challenges alone. Although the transition has been a financially difficult one, I can’t help but think that God used that time to transform me not into an editor, but into a caregiver.

Now, when I wake every day, I wonder what God might have in store and how I might be used in the life of another. I see my newfound career for what it is—merely a means to an end. I am placed here without the restraints of a desk job in order that God may use me fully for His purposes. Each and every day I am being transformed into someone whom He can utilize for His greater good. In the end, it was not about the job after all, but about the life.

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Sue A. Fairchild is a blogger, writer, and editor. She has been a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series twice and has recently published a young adult novel, What You Think You Know. Sue also edits professionally for Christian Editor Connection and is a member of ACFW. For more information on her professional services and to read more of her simple snippets, please visit her website Sue’s Simple Snippets: Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness. You can also connect with her on Facebook, or Twitter.

Sue A. Fairchild’s Post: Transforming for a Life Worth Living

Fifteen-year-old Emily Forester is sure of one thing: Beth Myers will be her friend forever. Friends almost since birth, they even share the same nervous habit—biting their cuticles. They’re like sisters and nothing can ever change that, or so Emily thought. Now, Emily discovers Beth displaying disturbing new habits, and begins to doubt how well she knows her best friend after all. When Beth betrays their sister-like bond, Emily is crushed and considers what life would be like without Beth. She’s already lost her mom; will she lose Beth, too? The one concrete thing in her life, her friendship with Beth, starts to crumble. Longing to talk with her mother, Emily confides in her dad instead and he reveals more shocking secrets. Will these new revelations bolster her relationship with Beth, or tear them apart forever?

Purchase WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW HERE

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Joseph: The Other Father by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on January 19, 2017 in Julie Arduini |

JOSEPH: THE OTHER FATHER

Jesus grew up in a violent world. Just how violent was it? The Romans and Zealots were constantly having skirmishes along the highways and in towns. Sometimes their own king or government attacked the people by the thousands, often at the annual Jewish feasts held in Jerusalem three times a year, such as when Jesus was eleven years old.

Sometimes the violence came from outside. Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, was in charge of the Province of Galilee where Jesus lived most of his life, and he had a habit of making people made. When Jesus was ten, Herod made the King of Arabia mad. So he joined forces with the legate of Syria and they invaded Galilee with 100,000 soldiers.

Nazareth was just three miles from Sepphoris where Herod’s palace was. Where were 100,000 soldiers supposed to camp while bulwarks and trenches and other such things used in war were made? Surely Joseph and the other fathers of Nazareth knew they had to defend their families against soldiers molesting and even killing Nazarenes so they could take over their houses. Joseph surely barricaded his family in and nailed the front gate closed, and put barriers up on the roof so the soldiers couldn’t climb ladders to get to them.

In addition to all this, there were the hazards of the job of carpentry. Joseph surely took Jesus with him up into the hills to chop down trees. There were bears in those hills.

Nazareth was just a small unwalled village of five hundred people then. Joseph could not support a family in such a small village. He surely did a lot of work in Sepphoris three miles away. It was rebuilt after it was burned down and a lot of carpentry was required then. Later, Tiberius over on Lake Galilee was built. Also, Bethsaida was turned into a walled city at that time and many government buildings added.  Travel was always dangerous. Working in close areas where there was a lot of construction work going on was dangerous.

Joseph

Through it all, Joseph had his assignment: Protect the Son of God. What went through his mind day after day through those twenty-nine years before Jesus began his public ministry?

How many times did Joseph jump in front of little-boy Jesus because something falling would kill him, but only injure Joseph?  And the teasing in town. People could count. They knew Mary was pregnant when Joseph married her. What names did they call Mary? What names did they call Jesus? And when Jesus was twelve and they couldn’t find him for three days: As they frantically searched street after street, knocking on doors and asking, “Have you seen our little boy? He goes by the name of Jesus and he’s such-and-such tall.”  And going through the markets and down alleys and calling out, “Jesus! Jesus! Where are you?”

What responsibility. I cannot imagine taking it on. Can you?

Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.

Website: http://inspirationsbykatheryn.com

Purchase JOSEPH: The Other Father HERE

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MICHEL: The Fourth Wise Man by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on January 17, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini |

MICHEL: THE FOURTH WISE MAN

 

It is January. What happens after Christmas? What happened after the original Christmas? What brought the wise men from the East in the first place? What did they do after they left Bethlehem and returned home?

We take too much for granted. We just assume there were three wise men (magi) because there were three gifts. Perhaps ten magi went together, pooled their funds, and financed one gift.

We also take for granted that the wise men saw the “Star of Bethlehem” and automatically knew the divine king of the Jews had been born and the needed to rush right over to “the little town” so they could be in the same scene as the shepherds.

Much of my book, Michel: The Fourth Wise Man, is about the magi’s search for the meaning of the star. As pagans, they had always believed the birth of a star meant the birth of a god, and that is all they had to go on.

But there is a side issue in this retelling.  In the book, Michel, a Jewish descendant of Daniel whose ancestors elected not to uproot and return to Jerusalem, lives among pagans. He wants desperately to convert them to the one true God. He wants desperately for God to walk the earth again as he had done with Adam and Eve.

He lives in one of the capital cities of Parthia which is in today’ Iraq, just south of Baghdad. The Bible says the Garden of Eden was located where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers meet.  Iraq’s slogan even today is “Land of the Two Rivers”.

Michel has such a missionary’s heart that he gives up everything to buy the desolate land where the Garden of Eden had been thousands of years earlier and replant it so God will walk the earth again and draw pagans to him. He loses his home, his father, his wife—everything—to buy it.

He sees the “Star of Bethlehem” as an interruption to his life’s most important work. After a year, the other magi agree to investigate the Jewish scriptures and find the meaning of the star there. They go to Bethlehem, see Jesus, now a nearly two-year-old toddler.

Did you ever wonder what the wise men did after they left Bethlehem and returned to “the East”? 

For one thing, Michel gets out in the desert on the way home and goes into a meltdown. He suddenly realizes God is already walking the earth again through young Jesus.  He has lost his fortune and his family to buy the site of the Garden of Eden.  I am not going to tell you what happens next, because it would be telling you my surprise ending.

But I hope I have told you enough so that you realize perhaps there was more—a lot more—to the story of the wise men than we normally think about. Each wise man had a life. Each wise man had a before-and-after story. This is Michel’s.

 

Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.

Website: http://inspirationsbykatheryn.com

Purchase MICHEL: The Fourth Wiseman HERE

A NOTE FROM KATHERYN MADDOX HADDAD

Whoever, makes a comment on my blog gets a free 2017 scripture calendar.  By email you can photocopy as many copies as you want to share with your congregation and family, or one if by print mailed to your home.

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Star Song by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on December 15, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

From Julie:

This is an excerpt from Katheryn Maddox Haddad’s Star Song, Book 1 of her 8-book series “THEY MET JESUS”. Look for places where you can “talk” to the characters.

 

Star Song by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

“Mary…” Gabriel grows more serious. “Mary, you are a very favored lady, for the Lord is with you and has decided to wonderfully bless you in a special way.”

Silence. What is he talking about?

He continues.

“Very soon now, you will become pregnant and have a baby boy.”

“Well, very soon now I will be married. But a boy? How can you know that?” she responds, momentarily forgetting her fear.

Gabriel reassures her. “Remember, Mary, I’m an angel. God has told me everything. Furthermore, you are to call your baby Jesus.”

“Jesus? But my husband will be Joseph. I plan to name my first son Joseph.”

Gabriel continues as though she has not responded. “He shall be very great and shall be called the Son of God.”

The words grab hold of her heart and will not let go. Son of God…of God…of God…

Mary’s mouth opens, but in speechlessness. She does not understand.

Oh, Mary. Listen to what he says. Really and truly listen.

The angel continues. “He shall govern this nation forever; his kingship shall never end!”

His words echo through her mind and are trapped there in a confused abyss. She sits on a bench by the wall, her trembling hands grasping its edges.

“The child will not belong to Joseph. You will become pregnant miraculously before you are married. Remember the prophet Isaiah saying a virgin will bear the Son of God?”

Indeed, Mary does remember. Her father had been talking about it just the day before.

Gabriel continues. “And when I said his nation would never end, I was quoting from the prophet Daniel. Daniel even predicted exactly when he would be born. His birth year, Mary, is next year. Do you have a scripture scroll? I will show you.”

Mary, he’s offering you proof now. He’s helping you believe.

He quotes from Daniel.  “Pay attention! It will be 49 years—that’s seven weeks’ times seven days in a week—plus 434 years from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until the crowned One comes!’”

“That’s a total of 483 years,” he explains. “Mary, it has been 452 years since our capital city was rebuilt. The descendant of David is due to be born next year and become priest-king when all priests are eligible—at age 30. That will be the 483rd year.”

Grasp what he’s telling you, Mary. Can you do it?

Mary tries with all her heart to believe him.

He has proven himself with scripture, with the Word of God. The final proof is yet to be given.

“But I’m a virgin. How can I have the baby? How can I conceive?”

Okay, Mary. Can you handle it? Can you comprehend what he’s about to tell you? Try, Mary. Really try. Don’t let the moment slip by, Mary. It’s. dynamic. It’s spiritual.

Gabriel remains seated and smiling. He stands now, and walks slowly toward Mary, then kneels in front of her so he can look into her eyes. Full of excitement, he whispers as though telling a special secret.

“The Holy Spirit shall come upon you!”

“The Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit helped David write his psalms.” Then, thoughtfully, she adds, “He does other things too?”

Gabriel’s exhilaration swells. His words trip over each other in excitement.

“Mary, the power of God will overshadow you.”

Come on, Mary. You’re almost there. Don’t stop now.

“Therefore,” Gabriel continues, “the baby born to you will be thoroughly celestial.”

“Celestial?” she manages to say.

What is happening?

Hang on to your seat, now, Mary. Here comes the rest of it. You didn’t get it when he told you before. Grasp it now.

“Your baby will…your baby, Mary, will be the Son of God!”

That’s it. That’s the final thing you’ve got to believe. Do you believe it, Mary? Can you? Try hard, Mary.

Divine truth descends to her mind. Dazzles her soul. Ignites her spirit. “I want to believe you. Somehow I do believe.”

Day dawns in the mind, soul and spirit of Mary. And of Mankind.

 

…. Yes. It is night. But Satan has been silenced. Now it is indeed silent night. Indeed, holy night. The dawn comes. And with it all that is calm and all that is bright.

Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.

Website: http://inspirationsbykatheryn.com

To purchase STAR SONG, purchase HERE.

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Thankful: Excerpts from My Memoir by B.J. Bassett

My Story

Excerpts from my Memoir

            “Mom, you should write your story . . . about how you broke the cycle of alcohol addiction in your family. You’re the transition generation,” my daughter, Melanie, said.

            “It’d be too painful.”

            Yet, I was between writing projects. Maybe I’ll give her suggestion a try. If it becomes too hard, I can always stop. Maybe it will even be a catalyst for more healing.

             So I began.

 

My beautiful mother, Launalee (later she changed the spelling to Launalei) had a Betty Grable figure and auburn hair. An extravert with oodles of friends, she was scared by her parent’s divorce when she was fifteen. Her three brothers were also marred by it. Divorce was not the norm in 1930s Bremerton, Washington.

Daddy, an introvert, came from a very different childhood as the third son growing up in a small town in Minnesota. His mother wanted a girl. His sister Phyllis was born seven years later and they always shared a close relationship.

Jobs were scarce in 1937, so Daddy joined the Navy. He met my mother at a dance in Bremerton, Washington.

When my parents planned to be married, Granddad Harkness put a stop to it. “My daughter will not marry a sailor.” So they waited until Daddy was out of the Navy. They married in 1939 and I was born the following year. I always felt loved.

When I was ten and my little brother Danny was two, my parents came home in the wee hours of the morning. Mama woke me and pushed the car keys between my mattress and box-spring. “Don’t tell Daddy where the keys are.”

So it began—Mama putting me in the middle of my parent’s fights.

I don’t remember if Daddy found the car keys or not that night. What I do remember is it was the only time I ever saw him drunk, and it frightened me. He left that night and returned the next day.

There were also many happy times during those years. I attended Sunday school and church with neighbors. I loved everything girly and motherly—especially dolls and my baby brother.

When I was in junior high it was my responsibility to pick Danny up at the baby-sitter’s after school. Mama had told me to put potatoes in the oven before she got home from work. I forgot. When she got home, and realized I hadn’t done what she asked, she slapped me across the face and called me a cross-eyed baboon. Her words hurt worse than the slap. If my own mother thought that of me, what must others think?         (I had a lazy eye.)

Later, when I was a teenager, I came home from one of my church youth events, Mama was drunk. The living-room was full of people. She draped her arm over my shoulder and slurred, “You’re such a good girl. I’ll give you anything you want. Do you want a car? I’ll buy you a car.”

“No, Mama.”

I never took advantage of her generosity during those times. I knew she was drunk and wouldn’t remember what she’d said the next day. She was a happy drunk. It was years later that she became a mean one.

 

So Melanie, I took your suggestion and wrote about how I broke the cycle of alcoholism in my family. God gave me the gift of not liking the taste of alcohol, and I’d witnessed how it destroyed lives. He also pursued me from the beginning of my life. He put saints in my life to minister to me. He never gave up on me, and has never left me in all these years. I am grateful.

            I don’t want to paint Nana and Papa as all bad. While growing up there were more good times than bad, and they had some wonderful qualities. I wish I had inherited Nana’s generosity and Papa’s playfulness. He was always a good provider, even when money was tight. A hard worker, he balanced work with play. Although they were both somewhat selfish, they were also giving. (If that’s possible.) I felt loved by them, yet it seemed conditional—if I was a good girl and obeyed. It was from God that I felt unconditional love.

            I believe I am who I am because God never let go of me. He saved my soul, put Christian saints in my life, and I learned from my parents—the good and the bad. I was, and am, blessed.

 

B J Bassett

B J Bassett

BIO: B.J. Bassett encourages others as an author, teacher and speaker. Her books include a historical novel Lily; A Touch of Grace—The G.R.A.C.E. Ministries Story, and coauthor of My Time with God which sold 55,000 copies while in print. Her recently released contemporary romance, Gillian’s Heart, is now available.

Email: bassett106@charter.net

Website: www.bjbassett.com

Blog: http://bjbassett.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bunny.bassett

Gillian’s Heart

gilliansheartcoverart_editedAbandoned as a child by her alcoholic parents, Gillian Grant was raised by her grandmother in a beach house in California. As an adult, in tribute to Gram’s memory, Gillian wishes to restore the house to its former splendor. But she can’t do it alone, and hires Dusty Bradshaw to help her.

Gillian and Dusty have nothing in common, except the restoration of the house. Gillian suffers from anorexia and is in denial. While she has a strong faith in God, Dusty is an unbeliever. Add to the complicated mess Gillian’s confusing feelings for her childhood friend Josh and the sudden, unwanted appearance of Gillian’s mother Betsy, who claims the house is hers. And she intends to sell it.

Gillian always dreamed of her wedding in her grandmother’s garden overlooking the Pacific. Will there be a wedding? Who will capture Gillian’s heart—her stable, longtime friend Josh—or Dusty, a new Christian, who has kept secrets from her? And who holds the deed to the house?

Purchase Gillian’s Heart HERE

 

 

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God’s Creative Side by Katheryn Haddad

Posted by Julie on November 2, 2016 in Julie Arduini |

I used to look around at this amazing earth and the astounding heavens, and wonder how I could ever be in the image of God ~ the Great Creator of all this.

He didn’t create a barren earth and then order people to get to work and plant something. He got everything just right. And then….  And then….  And then his crowning glory ~ he created us! Special us! But how could I feel special compared to my Great Creator?

Then one day I realized what he had done. I got it. He gave you and me a special gift: To be creators too.  As perfect as he made the earth, he left some joyful things for us to create ourselves.

He left the jewels unmined, the buildings unbuilt, the songs unsung, the paintings unpainted, the ships unmade, the sculptures uncarved, the books unwritten.

Here I am surrounded by everything I need to imitate one part of God ~ his creative side. Today, I think I’ll create something.

katheryn-yellow_edited

Author Katheryn Haddad

Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.

With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University. 

Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications. 

Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.

She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.

 

Website: http://inspirationsbykatheryn.com

Web page about Mefiboset: Crippled Prince

 Pinterest about Mefiboset: Crippled Prince

 

Video about Mefiboset: Crippled Prince

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatherynMaddoxHaddad

Linkedin: http://bit.ly/28WsEgZ

BACK COVER of MEFIBOSET: CRIPPLED PRINCE

0-mefiboset-kindle-medium_editedDenied the throne as king of Israel and crippled for life at age five, Sett spends his early years fleeing his grandfather King Saul’s enemies. Inheriting his gigantic grandfather’s height and good looks along with his father Jonathan’s positive attitude, Sett uses his wits to get out of life-threatening situations in Israel, Babylon, and Assyria. Despite his handicap, the beautiful Kissara becomes his wife, King David becomes his friend, and the forests become his mission. Though he must constantly deal with three enemies who do everything they can to make his life miserable, Mefiboset, grandson of a king, is an overcomer, a climber, a conqueror who triumphs in the end.

Purchase: Mefiboset: Crippled Prince eBook

Purchase: Mefitoset: Crippled Prince Print Book
 

 



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