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Josefin features the Josefin & Merriweather Google Fonts. The styling has been meticulously set to fit the aesthetics of the theme, providing a relaxing reading experience.

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We’ve taken extra care in styling the number counter feature Divi offers. We’ve included dark & light background options. Showcase your stats in style with the Josefin Child Theme.

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We’ve utilized and styled the Rotating Tweets Plugin by Martin Tod. Display your tweets elegantly using this plugin and the Josefin Child Theme. We’ve included an instructional video on how to set this up.

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A photo is worth a thousand words. Parallax backgrounds combined with great use of whitespace allow the focus to be on your beautiful images. We’ve also styled a masonry layout as an option for your images.

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Styled Form

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We’ve utilized and styled the WP Instagram Widget by Scott Evans. Display your Instagram photos elegantly using this plugin and the Josefin Child Theme. We’ve included an instructional video on how to set this up.

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Divi comes with some nice animation options. We’ve added additional animation classes you can apply to your sections and modules. We’ve included an instructional video on how to use these animations.

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Easily build a features grid with Josefin. We’ve created an instructional video with links to the CSS and a Divi Layout files. Import the layout into your site with a single click.

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Call Committee Update April 17, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

From the Call Committee, we are pleased to announce on Tuesday, April 13th, our Mission Site Profile (MSP) draft was approved by Church Council.  We worked very hard to come up with the best representation of Grace on paper (web profile) and I am proud of the team for our accomplishment.  Our next step is to get this posted to the ELCA website which will be completed around May 1st.  After our MSP is posted to the website, the process can begin for pastors to view Grace’s profile for the open position.  Any Pastors who show interest in Grace, will first be screened by the Bishop and if approved will be forwarded to the Call Committee for consideration. 

Finishing the MSP is just the start for the Call Committee.  Our next task is to formulate interview questions for potential pastors and practicing interviews with other local pastors.  The Call Committee would like to request the congregation’s participation – if anyone has any specific questions they would like us to ask a potential pastor, please send them our way.   One may do this by either emailing the Grace office: office@gracelutherantoledo.org, emailing me: flyinryan99@yahoo.com, or talking to a member of the Call Committee or Transition Team.  We eager to hear from you.

Lastly, once the interview process does start – like any interview process – this must be kept confidential.   The Call Committee will still provide monthly updates on what we can.  We thank you for your support and prayers and look forward to seeing you all in person soon.

Kindest Regards,

Ryan Moore

Sunday April 18, 2021 Meditation

Introduction & Welcome

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

The gospel for the third Sunday of Easter is always one in which the risen Christ shares food with the disciples, meals that are the Easter template for the meal we share each Sunday. In today’s gospel, Jesus both shares the disciples’ food and shows them the meaning of his suffering, death, and resurrection through the scriptures, the two main elements of our Sunday worship.

Thanksgiving for Baptism

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Refreshed by the resurrection life we share in Christ,

let us give thanks for the gift of baptism.

We thank you, risen Christ,

for these waters where you make us new,

leading us from death to life, from tears to joy.

We bless you, risen Christ, that your Spirit comes to us

in the grace-filled waters of rebirth,

like rains to our thirsting earth,

like streams that revive our souls,

like cups of cool water shared with strangers.

Breathe your peace on your church when we hide in fear.

Clothe us with your mercy and forgiveness.

Send us companions on our journey as we share your life.

Make us one, risen Christ.

Cleanse our hearts.

Shower us with life.

To you be given all praise,

with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God,

now and forever.

Amen.

Confession and Forgiveness

All may make the sign of the cross, the sign marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins.

Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,

the keeper of the covenant,

the source of steadfast love,

our rock and our redeemer.

Amen.

God hears us when we cry, and draws us close in Jesus Christ. Let us return to the one who is full of compassion.

Silence is kept for reflection.

Fountain of living water,

pour out your mercy over us.

Our sin is heavy, and we long to be free.

Rebuild what we have ruined and mend what we have torn.

Wash us in your cleansing flood.

Make us alive in the Spirit to follow in the way of Jesus,

as healers and restorers of the world you so love.

Amen.

Beloved, God’s word never fails.

The promise rests on grace:

by the saving love of Jesus Christ,

the wisdom and power of God,

your sins are ☩ forgiven, and God remembers them no more.

Journey in the way of Jesus.

Amen.

Prayer of the Day

Holy and righteous God, you are the author of life, and you adopt us to be your children. Fill us with your words of life, that we may live as witnesses to the resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Amen.

First Reading: Acts 3:12-19

After healing a man unable to walk, Peter preaches to the people, describing how God’s promises to Israel have been fulfilled in Jesus. Through the proclamation of Christ’s death and resurrection, God is offering them forgiveness and restoration in Jesus’ name.

12[Peter] addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk?13The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. 14But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, 15and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.
17“And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. 19Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.”

Psalm: Psalm 4

The Lord does wonders for the faithful. (Ps. 4:3)

1Answer me when I call, O God, defender of my cause;
you set me free when I was in distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
2“You mortals, how long will you dishonor my glory;
how long will you love illusions and seek after lies?”
3Know that the Lord does wonders for the faithful;
the Lord will hear me when I call.
4Tremble, then, and do not sin;
speak to your heart in silence upon your bed. 
5Offer the appointed sacrifices,
and put your trust | in the Lord.
6Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”
Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord.
7You have put gladness in my heart,
more than when grain and wine abound.
8In peace, I will lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me rest secure. 

Second Reading: 1 John 3:1-7

God has loved us in order to make us children of God. Though we do not yet know the full details of our future existence, we trust that God will reveal it just as God revealed Jesus to take away our sins.

1See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
4Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. 7Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia. Our hearts burn within us* while you open to us the scriptures. Alleluia. (Luke 24:32)

Gospel: Luke 24:36b-48

In this account of an appearance after his resurrection, Jesus opens the minds of the disciples to understand him as Messiah. Jesus convinces them that he has been raised and sends them on a mission to proclaim the message of repentance and forgiveness.

36bJesus himself stood among [the disciples] and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence.
44Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things.”

Meditation by David O’Brien

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

If today’s Gospel sounds like a repeat of last weeks, there’s a good reason for that. This is Luke’s telling of the story of Christ coming to the disciples after His resurrection. It’s such a good story, we tell it two weeks in a row! I thought it was an interesting difference that in Luke’s story He asks the disciples for something to eat, proving that He is in fact risen. After all, would a ghost want something to eat? This is also part of the basis for our celebration of the Holy Eucharist, a meal with Christ. I also think it’s important that the risen Lord discusses how the suffering He endured and His resurrection had been foretold and proclaimed them to be witnesses if these events. Christ also instructs them “that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem”.

In our first reading, Peter had just healed a man while he was among some of his fellow Jews and he speaks to them directly, in ways that they could identify with. For example, he speaks of “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors” which was often the way the Jews spoke of God. In fact, this is the way that God introduces Himself to Moses at the burning bush. This way of referring to God is seen in several places throughout the Old Testament. Elijah referred to Him this way in 1 Kings 18:36 when presenting an offering to God. When praying for his son, Solomon, David also referred to God in this manner in 1 Chronicles 29:18. I think he was doing this to try to make a firmer connection with the people he was speaking to, the Jews.

Peter makes reference to Jesus being “God’s servant”. This was probably reminiscent of Isaiah 53:13 which begins “my servant will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted”. He also makes reference to the fact that his Jewish brethren had rejected Him and had Him handed over to Pilate for execution. Peter is careful to tell them that this healing was not done via his righteous or his own merit, but by the name of Jesus, “whom God raised from the dead”. Peter even gave his fellow Jews an out, saying that he knows they “acted in ignorance” and invites them to repentance, so that they might turn to God and have their sins wiped out.

Why is Peter making this extraordinary effort to reach out to the Jews in a way that they can relate to? First of all, he was told by Christ to proclaim repentance and forgiveness in His name to all nations and to start with Jerusalem.  I also think it’s just another example of how God’s mercy extends to all people, even the people who “killed the Author of life”, meaning Jesus Christ. What a miraculous thing that is! God loves us! He loves us enough that He has made us His children. That love extends to all people and is greater than the sins that they have committed. May we try to emulate Peter when we reach out to people in our community and speak to them in ways they can understand and try to reach them where they are.

Prayers of Intercession

Alive in the risen Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, we bring our prayers before God who promises to hear us and answer in steadfast love.

A brief silence.

Living God, in the midst of Easter joy we are still filled with questions and wondering. Inspire Daniel and Elizabeth, our bishops, and Howard, our pastor to help us to feel the touch of the Holy Spirit and open our hearts and minds as we encounter the scriptures, so that the church embodies repentance and forgiveness in the name of Jesus to all nations. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Creating God, like a master artist you have fashioned the universe out of your love and delight. Heal your creation where it is in need of restoration. Teach us to appreciate and protect the natural wonders that You have blessed us with. Provide all the inhabitants of earth a peaceful and sustainable home. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

God of all, the nations hunger and thirst for your righteousness. Many call on you for guidance and strength. Answer their hopes with the peace of Christ and give your loving kindness to national, state, and local leaders of people. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Healing God, you hear the cries of those in need and answer them in their distress. Grant to those who are sick and suffering your compassion and nurse them back to health and wholeness, especially those affected by political or civil unrest and all those on our prayer list. Be close to the hearts of the lonely, especially those in hospitals or other institutions, who suffer in separation from those they love, and those they have been separated from. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Loving Parent, you have given us such love that we should be called the children of God. Reveal yourself to us so that we in this community of faith will become more and more like you in our mutual love and bold witness. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

God of all times and ages, those who have died in you now see you as you are. We thank you for their lives among us. Assure us of the peace you have promised, that we may join them in everlasting life. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

In the hope of new life in Christ, we raise our prayers to you, trusting in your never-ending goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Together, let us profess our faith using the words of the Apostles Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.* On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.

Amen.

And now, as our Savior, Christ is teaching us, we boldly pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Blessing

May our glorious God grant you a spirit of wisdom

to know and to love the risen Lord Jesus.

The God of life,

Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit,

bless you now and forever.

Amen.

Dismissal

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Go in peace. Share the good news. Alleluia!

Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

April 18, 2021 Newsletter

 

How good and how pleasant it is,

When kindred live together in unity!

~Psalm 113:1

 

Graduate Sunday is April 25

All spring graduates, whether it is from high school or college, are invited to be recognized at the 9:30 a.m. service on Sunday, April 25.

Graduation is no small event, it is a significant milestone marking both endings and beginnings, and your Grace family wishes to recognize this milestone.  If you are graduating and wish to be recognized on this special day, please contact the Church Office with the name of the school you are graduating from, your degree if you are graduating from college, and your plans for the future.

We look forward to recognizing you on this day.

 

Behind the scenes at Grace ….

  1. The crabapple trees are blooming – how wonderful to see God’s artistic work!
  2. We are seeing more groups come back to meet at Grace and are following guidelines which is wonderful! The church is slowly starting to “rock” during the week as well as on Sunday!
  3. How wonderful garlic smells (and tastes) and cheese tastes – mouthwatering in fact! And then there are Ruth McKenzie’s famous meatballs … Watch for the Jeff Erdman Memorial Pasta Dinner and get those taste buds ready!
  4. We have updated the Church Directory!! There are copies in the back of the Sanctuary and outside the office.
  5. We received Communion this last Sunday with wine (or grape juice if desired) and wafers. This is a step towards returning to some normalcy. Thanks again to the ushers and to the congregation for their patience as we are still working out a “few bugs”.
  6. Thanks to Jim Bischoff for wonderful music in Debby’s absence. It was great to try a new song.
  7. Don’t forget to check out the Resource Table on wheels at the back of the Sanctuary and table in back of Chapel on Sundays! Directories, fliers, etc. will be located there for you to help yourself!
  8. Remember: Grace is not the building but the people of Grace carrying out God’s mission

 

Earth Day 2021 -April 22 (Submitted by the Parish Nurse) 

One way of observing Earth Day is to eat locally raised and grown food. The new term for people who eat this way is “Locavore”. Before food was shipped, we were all Locavores – but now not so much. It is important as what we eat matters to our health and the quality of what we eat is determines by how the food is raised, what it is fed and where it is from.

Why is it important to spending extra time and money to eat local food?

By eating local you can reduce the carbon footprint from gasoline used for trucking and flying in of food. We are supporting our local farmers and businesses by buying local. Eating seasonal is usually fresher, knowing where your food comes from and how it was raised is also important. If you know that the produce you are buying is being grown on a farm where chemicals are not being used and polluting our streams and rivers that is also important to the planet. Food that is picked before it is ripe, and food placed in storage can lose vital nutrients.

Did you know that when animals get more exercise their meat is leaner and that animals who graze on grass as   opposed to grain keep the soil healthier and produce better meat?

A Locavore diet does not include nationally distributed food products made in a factory somewhere which pretty much means “NO JUNK FOOD”

So on Earth Day think Locavore!

 

Another way to celebrate and decrease waste of food products

  1. Don’t buy more then you need – bargain buys are great but sometimes a 10 #bag of potatoes sounds great but unless you have a potato every day, they can spoil especially if they were picked green and put into storage to preserve.
  2. Leftovers are wonderful and often taste better the NEXT day but 3-4 days out, unless it is Limburger cheese don’t taste so great and could make you sick. So, make less, give it away or eat quickly.
  3. Think about sharing your food with neighbors and family – share that 10# bag of potatoes or that great deal of a 20# bag of apples. Great way to meet your neighbors and to prevent waste.
  4. Take your vegetable, fruit scraps, and even coffee grounds and turn them into compost for your garden. Compost is a cheap way of providing nutrients for your plants. Watch for information on a Community Garden!!!!!!

Other ways to celebrate Earth Day – Recycle!!!!

Toledo and surrounding areas have some pretty great recycling spots. Some  people pay for the service and others load up their cars and drop off.

What can we put in our recycle bin?

  • Paper – newspaper, magazines, envelopes etc. (for privacy purposes take your name off and either shred or cut up into little pieces and throw back in the container). Shredded paper can make good mulch for your garden and it disintegrates over the summer but avoid colored ink and magazines.
  • Cardboard/cartons – boxes, cereal boxes, (save the shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child).
  • Plastic containers – milk bottles (rinse them out), Ensure bottles (rinse out).
  • Cans – all kinds but they need to be rinsed and if you can take the labels off and put in with the paper

**** Don’t throw dirty stuff in the recycle bin – rinse it out and make sure it is clean!

 

STUFF THAT SHOULD NOT GO INTO THE RECYLE BIN!!

  • Styrofoam – food containers and packing peanuts, etc.
  • Plastic bags – this is really important as the sorting centers are very automated and everything needs to be lose. The magnets, shakers and grinders, etc. sort things automatically and if recyclables are left in a plastic bag the WHOLE thing will go into the landfill! Yikes – even better reason to use cloth and paper bags to get groceries.

*  You can recycle your plastic bags just not in the recycling bin. Meijers,    Kroger, and Sautters have bins for them. You can put in not only plastic bags but dry cleaner bags, and the plastic film covers like those on toilet paper. No meat wraps.

  • Packing material – like bubble wrap.
  • Waxed cardboard – milk cartons, and containers like TV dinners and ice cream containers
  • Soiled food containers – pizza boxes (if the box lid is clean, you can recycle that).
  • Food waste.
  • Loose caps from containers

*****Did you know that when recycling plastic bottles caps need to be left on? Reason – modern equipment uses a system where the caps are removed from the bottles in a water bath – bottles float and caps sink! Loose caps are not recognized by the machines due to small size and end up in landfills – eek! Don’t crush your bottle either as it causes the machines to be confused and may also head the bottle to the landfill instead of being recycled.

If you have a plastic coat hanger, laundry basket, old garbage can or even a plastic toy and you want to put in the recycle bin – DO NOT!!!

These things are typically not recyclable!!

Only plastic with the small triangle with arrows and the numbers in it (usually on the bottom) can go into the recycle bin.

 

Some Interesting stuff!

  1. The average American household throws out about 1 pound of food a day.
  2. Plastic bags take 200 -1,000 years to decompose.
  3. Only about 1% of plastic bags are returned for recycling.
  4. Paper bags take about 1 month to decompose.
  5. 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually …….

 

What Got Left Out of the Sermon on April 11

This should be “Part of What Got Left Out,” since the text of the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Easter is extraordinarily rich, but I’m trying to learn restraint.  So, I’ll treat one verse only here: John 20.23, in which the risen Christ says to the ten disciples in the locked he just entered without damaging the door, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

(Already, I’m leaving out a critical piece of the context, since Christ says this immediately after breathing on them and saying “Receive the Holy Spirit” in verse 22.  Surely he would not confer such huge power on people who were not filled with the Holy Spirit, would he?  But I want to keep this to one page.)

The part about forgiving sins is what we would expect from Jesus, who said earlier, “the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do.”  One of the works he often did was declaring to sinners that they were forgiven.  He wants us to carry on his work of announcing forgiveness to sinners?  That’s not a big leap.

There are two parts to this forgiveness: God’s part and our part.  God’s part is forgiving us, and all who will accept God’s forgiveness.  Our part is the necessary accompaniment to accepting God’s forgiveness, which is forgiving each other, and all who do us harm.  As in, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”

Then, the Crucified and Risen One says, “If you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”  What are we to do with that?

One possibility is that Jesus is authorizing us to say to people, “We have decided that God does not  forgive you, and will not forgive you, until we tell God that it’s alright: that you have repented enough, or reformed enough, or made enough restitution.  Then, when we give the word, God will forgive you.  Until then, God will retain your sins, and your guilt will remain.”

And if that is what Jesus is saying, who is the “you” in “If you retain the sins of any”?  The pastor of your congregation?  The bishop of your Synod, or the Churchwide Bishop?  The Congregation Council?  The one who was wronged?  Jesus is addressing the disciples, but who are their successors?

A better possibility, I think, is that Jesus is not conferring authority on anyone to block God’s forgiveness, but is describing the cost to the Church when we fail to forgive.  He is not giving us permission to withhold the gift of forgiveness, but is warning us of the cost of failing to use it.  “If you retain the sins of any, you won’t be rid of those sins.  They will hang around and haunt you.  As long as you retain them, you will have to live with them, and they will continue to stink up your life together.  If you retain the sins of any, you get to hang on to hurt feelings, and recriminations, and resentments, and tensions.  I have given you all the authority you need to forgive sins.  Use it!”

And who is the “you” in “if you retain the sins of any”?  I’m pretty sure that’s all of us.  Any one of us who wants to retain someone else’s sin can hang onto it and live with the bitterness of it.  The warning is a universal one.

I think the second possibility, that “If you retain the sins of any, they are retained” is Christ’s warning to us of the very high cost of retaining each other’s sins, is what God intends us to hear in this text.

What do you think?

Question! What is red and liquid and can be recycled for the benefit of others?

 BLOOD!! Yep, you guessed it – life saving blood!

One unit of blood can help 3 people – so what a bang for a unit of blood!

Giving blood is a great way to give back to others and the community!

It is not a huge time commitment – maybe 2 hours, does not cost anything, and does not require you to volunteer on a regular basis!  You will also get a treat !

Please give on April 23 from 1 – 6 pm at Grace! You may sign up on the American Red Cross web page or contact Gretchen Hiatt 419-944-5166 or gretchensue1205@gmail.com

 

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.   (Ruth Ann Schabacker)

You have been entrusted with a life that’s yours to care for, enjoy and learn from.  (Charlotte Davis Kasle)

There is no wisdom greater than kindness.  (Fortune Cookie)

 

This is the day the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

~Psalm 118:24

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