Rocking Chair Entrepreneur

They are called Super Moms for a reason. My stunning daughter is a full time mom as well as a full time career woman doing what she loves most – writing and working with people at PayProMedia. She described it this way at 3:00 a.m.
A Salute to Entrepreneurs From a Rocking Chair

By Leilani Squires

I’m supposed to be writing tips from women in business. But as I sit in my rocking chair, at 1:30 a.m., a fussy baby finally asleep on my chest, and I’m still trying to write this blog in order to meet my deadline, I realize something.

I’ve always had huge respect and admiration for you who make your dreams happen and start something from scratch. And now, I think I am able to identify with you entrepreneurs better than I ever have.

See, ten weeks ago, I got promoted to Mom. And it’s been awesome! And as I a continue to interview, write, and edit these articles, and reflect from my own business experience, I gotta say, I think being a mom is a lot like being an entrepreneur.
Let me explain. As an entrepreneur (and a mom), you…

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1. Are never “ready.” I mean, honestly, is anyone really ready to have a kid? Just like is anyone really ready to start a business? But entrepreneurs don’t wait until everything is perfect. As much as possible, sure, but not everything.

2. Can never be prepared enough. I tried my best to do all my homework for pregnancy and birth. But just as in business, a lot can come along that surprises you and that wasn’t in your homework, and changes your game plan. I’m now thinking that the main part of the “preparation” is learning how to flex and keep going, no matter what comes along.

3. Don’t mind the hours. The weird, long hours aren’t a drudgery. Crazy, right? Some days are “normal working hours,” and some just aren’t. And even though it can get exhausting, these hours don’t feel like work. And You don’t need as much coffee as you thought you would.

4. Do two things at once. Talk about multi-tasking! Anymore, I rarely do only one thing at a time. And I see entrepreneurs do the same thing, especially when most of the work is all on your shoulders.

5. Bend over backwards to protect your baby. Wow, this Mother Bear heart is something else! And I’ve seen entrepreneurs do all they can to breathe life into their new business, and tenderly care and viciously protect it as it grows.

6. Learn to give yourself some grace. Sometimes, my body reminds me that I’m still not back to normal, that I still need time to heal. Sometimes I compare myself to other moms who are already back at work full time, or at least able to go to the zoo for a whole day within a month of giving birth. As entrepreneurs, it’s vital to resist the temptation to push too hard or compare to another’s success.

7. Need a support team. This isn’t something you can do alone… it’s at least vital to have a mentor or three. I’m very thankful to other moms who have come alongside with encouragement, no-nonsense knowledge, and laughter.

8. Celebrate every little development. Every little thing my son does is news worthy in my mind. Aunts, uncles, and grandparents have received way too many text messages, videos, and pictures of baby fingers, toes, smiles, coos, holding his head up, and more. As an entrepreneur, each success, no matter how little or big, is brag worthy and warrants celebration.

Yes, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are over. So today, allow me to send a salute and standing ovation to you, small business entrepreneurs!

Tips for the Bride

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June is the most popular wedding month and we are having our own June wedding. At my daughter’s bridal shower, a room full of close family friends shared these tips:

1) Keep your relationship the most important thing
2) Speak kindly of others
3) Appreciate each other’s differences
4) Kiss hello and good-bye
5) Plan regular time together
6) Be involved in an encouraging community where you have accountability
7) Know the other person’s love language
8) Resolve conflicts in a healthy fashion
9) Always give your best
10) Smile
11) Celebrate the small things
12) Make certain both of you are accomplishing your dreams
13) Have interests you do together, and others that you enjoy individually
14) Get into each other’s world – be familiar with the other’s work, interests, friends
15) Always respect yourself and your spouse
16) Communicate, communicate, communicate

Most used items these women would not do without include:
1) vacuum
2) kitchen shears
3) Clorox wipes
4) phone and phone charger
5) griddle
6) stoneware cookware
7) wisk
8) food processor
9) Dawn dish soap
10) Barkeepers Friend cleaner
11) good equipment for the job
12) extra plastic liners at the bottom of the kitchen wastebasket

To enhance a safe relationship, listen to the other person’s side without interrupting. Repeat back what you heard and ask, “Is that what you said?” Acknowledge that you understand the other’s feelings. This shift moves you from arguing with each other to standing shoulder to shoulder on the same side where you can both tackle the issue together rather than each other.

And very importantly, surround yourself with excellent, genuine, and healthy friends. Just like the lovely ladies who gathered at my house to celebrate my daughter.

Get Packing on Memorial Day

Memorial Day is an appropriate day to pack a box.

Weekly I mailed the largest bulk rate box the post office offered. Inside were peanut butter, tuna, Gatorade powder, oatmeal, protein bars, brownies, cookies, chips, books, photos, local newspapers, CDs, DVDs, and letters. Colts socks in time for the Super Bowl.

Seven months into his nine month military deployment, my son called from some place near the African continent that I’d never heard of. I burst into happy tears when I heard his voice. “Don’t ask him where he is,” someone advised. “It only forces him to lie to you.”

Instead I asked, “Are you receiving the boxes I send?”

He said the boxes were evidence that people back home had not gone on with our lives and forgotten him and his buddies. “They’re like Christmas.”

“What’s on your wish list for the next shipments?”

Protein. Calories. My beloved neighbor is a veteran of WW2. He lent me a book about the USS Monterey Aircraft Carrier where he served with President Gerald Ford. The photos show men who are lean to the point of skinny. “What food we have aboard is all the food we have,” he said. “Supplies run low when we are out to sea for a long time.”

 

Dale Alles

Dale Alles

My pseudo-son – dear Marquis who has room in his heart for my family – served in a medical unit that deployed to the Middle East. From his creative mom who is also the best cook in Indiana, I learned to include extra to share around, and reminders to have fun like like silly putty, paddle ball, play dough, and a plastic snake. Surprisingly the guys got a lot of return from the 99 cent plastic snake. Like Indiana Jones – “Snakes. Why does it always have to be snakes?” – a few guys were not fond of reptiles. So what’s a guy with a plastic snake to do?

Observant Marquis noted that there were guys who never received mail. He sent their names back to his mom and pseudo-mom. I packed a box for a mechanic in the motor pool and included a note. “I hear that you are a magician at keeping the vehicles running so the unit stays mobile. Thank you!”

Letters, emails, facebook messages, and skype chats are priceless methods to stay connected no matter what the miles. And there are frequent periods of black-out when servicemen and women are off the grid for safety reasons. I filled those quiet stretches with shopping for items I could stuff into a box.

Love in a box. Another way to say “Thank you.”

Mom – The Mad Hatter

Dashing out the door for Mothers Day church service, I wondered if there would ever be a time when I didn’t have something sticky smudged somewhere on my clothes. Later, as the congregation stood for the liturgy, I held my toddler who still smelled of peanut butter on toast. In the row in front of me was a young mom with her baby forked on her hip and a yellow lifesaver stuck to her butt. I felt better about the peanut butter on my shoulder.

Too soon I am signing papers that allows my eager son to begin military training while still a senior in high school. After all, he already pilots gliders and powered airplanes. Then I am shopping for colleges with his bright-eyed sister. And a wedding dress. Like Noah’s Ark on wheels, the horse trailer doubles as a moving van as I settle an adult child – that’s an oxymoron – into a newly purchased address. Recently I received my first Grammy Award when my grandbaby was born and I was promoted to Fairy Grandmother making all wishes come true.

Being a mother is a rich and full, satisfying and challenging, always winsome and sometimes heartbreaking adventure. As my children grew, I was stunned to realize how many “mommies” I would grow into. Motherhood is the sum collection of moms.

  • Joyfully nauseas pregnant mom
  • New mother with fluids-emanating-from-every-orifice-of-her-body mom
  • ‘Take-the-bologna-off-your-head’ mom of a preschooler
  • Help with homework mom even though when you heard the word calculus you thought it was a disease. “Your daughter has calculus? I am so sorry.”
  • Opinionated mom of an equally opinionated teenager. (Must get that from their father.)
  • “Call home occasionally” mom of college student
  • Mom with adult children who hopefully come home for the holidays
  • Stunning ‘still-has-it’ mother-of-the-bride
  • Elegant mother-of-the-groom
  • Favorite mother-in-law
  • Wish-granting Fairy Grandmother
  • “Stop-me-when-I-get-to-your-name-on-my-prayer-list-so-I-know-which grandchild-you-are” Great-grandmother

There are decades when I am ‘pregnant mom’ and ‘mother of school-aged children’ at the same time. I simultaneously balance ‘mom of learning-to-drive teen’ with ‘mom of a university student,’ ‘mother-of-the-bride,’ and grandmother. Whew! This was not a case of changing hats but of stacking them one on top of the other like the character in Dr. Seuss’s Ten Apples Up on Top.

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It’s a 24-hour-seven-day-a-week job with no nights off, breaks, or salary. Eating a meal while it is still hot is rare; even getting to sit to eat a cold meal is not guaranteed. Motherhood is a constant flex and flow and if I do my job well, one day my grown child goes off to an exciting life of his own and I … well, I get to shift again into a new role of ‘mom of the very quiet empty nest’ – who cherishes the fingerprints left on windows that used to annoy me.

Children do not arrive with a set of instructions unique to their personality, nor do moms have a clear signal when to change hats. A mother-and-child relationship matures as we build rich childhood memories, and equip our young one with social skills, a strong work ethic, and a strong worth ethic.

The best gift you give to your child and to yourself – even when you don’t feel like making the effort – is the timeless benefit of a confident and consistent parent. Investing in your family is the most valuable employment of your time, money, creativity, and heart. Despite shortcomings, efforts that go sideways, and zippers that catch more than zipper teeth, in this key area mom is the only one who can fill the vacuum. No one else can parent your child. Your family is first priority and you are the critical person that makes all the difference in the world. To the world you are one person. To your child, you are the world.

Should You Guide Your Child’s Spiritual Development?

Writing about moms between Palm Sunday and Easter begs the question – should parents influence their children regarding faith matters? Or is this a personal issue we leave for our child to decide on their own?

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Children develop in four major categories; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Physical development includes healthy habits in nutrition, good hygiene, and nurturing environments. Emotionally, children learn to fully experience and contain their emotions, and speak the truth. Functionality encompasses academics and ongoing life skills that prepare your child to be personally responsible and able to care for others. The fourth important area of growth and development is spiritual.

How much guidance does a mom give to her child’s spiritual development?

  • Spirituality has to do with – well – eternity. That makes it important.
  • A child’s spiritual development impacts his character.
  • Children naturally have questions about the meaning of life, and an intrinsic knowledge of what is right and what is wrong.
  • In the same way a child requires guidance in every other aspect of life, he needs guidance about what those in his world believe and why.
  • To leave choices in this vital area strictly up to a child to “make his own decision” is confusing for the child.
  • Gentle instruction about family beliefs gives your child security in the ‘whys’ regarding what those around him do and don’t do.
  • As an adult, your child will make faith his own. The ultimate choice belongs to each individual.
  • A parent who has provided education and guidance in matters of faith equips their child to make an educated and confident choice when the time naturally arrives.
  • A shared faith is one of the characteristics of strong families.
  • An authentic relationship between child and mother encompasses opportunities to talk about everything – including faith, and the ethics and morality that stem from beliefs.
  • Choose wisely those who will spiritually mentor your child.

Faith is the basis for hope and purpose in life. It is protection against prejudice, hatred, superficial materialism, and agnosticism. Faith translates into unique value for each individual, forgiveness, and generosity. Involvement in a faith community provides you and your child with resources to tap and people to ask when questions arise.

Certainly the critics of religion and the church have some valid points. But there is nothing else on the planet we completely jettison from our life merely because it is not perfect. Everything I need to know about the church I learned from Noah’s Ark:

One: Don’t miss the boat.
Two: Remember that we are all in the same boat.
Three: Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.
Four: Stay fit. When you’re six hundred years old, someone may ask you to do something
really big.
Five: Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
Six: Build your future on high ground.
Seven: For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
Eight: Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
Nine: When you’re stressed, float for a while.
Ten: Remember, amateurs built the Ark; professionals built the Titanic.
Eleven: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.
Twelve: It may stink on the ark, but it sure beats the alternative.

I’m in Love!

Okay, I admit it.
I am in love. Head over heels, heart-melting, goo-goo talking, giggly, laughing, tell everyone about it including every store clerk and even the wrong number. Completely smitten.
On April 1, in the wee hours of the morning, Micah James was born. My Grammy Award. And I get to be the Fairy Grandmother.
Not only is Micah the most peaceful, smell-good, cuddly-fits-perfectly-in-my-arms baby, his mother is lovely and serene. Micah weighed nearly the same as his mother did when she was born. Now my grown-up baby has a baby. Her older sister cried when she held the newborn.  She’s in love too.
What a wonder Micah is. Like my own children, all he has to do for me to love him is breathe. Just be.
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Birthday Gift

Today my baby turns 15.
It is an exquisite wonder to be the proud mama of each of my seven children. Each is categorically unique and yet look enough alike that people will say “You’re a Wells, aren’t you?”
Today we celebrate the unparalleled gift that is my daughter.
Lilyanna, your future and possibilities are as unlimited as the Son!
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What’s a Panzer?

Writers have a motto – it’s all material. Whatever happens to us, to our friends, in history, anywhere in the world, the universe, or in our imagination is material for our stories. When writing about something as unique as the WW2 Panzer tank, where does a writer go for accurate information?  41Q8VJv5ddL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Author Brad Smith (think The Man from Aldersgate) wrote his newly released Track of the Panzer. His research took him to several museums that featured WW2 artifacts. Here are his notes:

“The Kruse Museum in Auburn, I went there about two years ago when I was researching TOP. Very informative, plus you can touch the vehicles. When I was a teenager, I climbed inside a World War I French tank when no one was looking. It was hot, cramped, and rusty. I think that was when I decided I did not want to go Armor when I joined up.
For me, however, the real standout was the George S. Patton Armor and Cavalry Museum in Fort Knox, Kentucky. They have the only German King Tiger in North America and the only Panther II in existence, plus the Russian T-34, and U.S. Sherman — all of which I used in the book. They even went so far as to cut open one whole side of the King Tiger, replete with uniformed manikins, to expose the interior. Whereas this is never done anymore because it destroys the integrity of the preserved artifact, it was an absolute Godsend for writers like me. And, after all, that iswhat it’s all about in the end, isn’t it? “Get the blowtorch, Ernie; Brad needs to visualize!”

http://www.amazon.com/Track-Panzer-Brad-L-Smith-ebook/dp/B00IO2TI3G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1394207455&sr=1-1&keywords=track+of+the+panzer

 

Not Who I Imagined

I am delighted to feature this blog by fellow author Margot Starbuck (is that a cool last name or what). Margot’s new book Not Who I Imagined releases now!

When You Can’t Trust a God Who’s Like Your Father

Margot Starbuck

The first time someone told me that my relationship with God was probably a lot like my relationship with a father figure—the dad who relinquished me for adoption, the one who drank too much and left when I was six, or the stepdad who also drank too much and left when I was fifteen—I thought they were crazy.

“Of course God’s not like those deadbeats,” I reasoned. “God. Is. Good.”

I was sure of it.

If I’d been forced to give God a face back then, it probably would have looked like the warm affectionate gaze of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s dad, the one played by Michael Landon on the 1970s Little House on the Prairie TV series. Or like my sweet steadfast faithful Grandad. Or maybe my pastor.

Of course I didn’t think God was like any of my earthly fathers.

If only it were that simple.

I discovered that our earliest experience of caregivers teaches us what to expect from an “other.” It’s how we learn whether someone will feed us when we’re hungry. Or comfort us when we cry. It’s how we learn whether or not we’re worth showing up for. Worth sticking around for. Worth loving. Dr. James Loder says that these formative faces actually prefigure how we will come to know God.

For a lot of us—with dads who left, or ones who died, or ones stuck in addiction—that’s bad news.

In my darkest days, when I was clinically depressed and altogether undone, God spoke his truth to my deep places. Four words.

These four words changed everything:

I am for you.

In that moment that I raged against God and demanded to know who in this life had ever come through for me, I suddenly realized that the father of Jesus who’s revealed in the gospels isn’t some absent parent who abandons his own son. He’s not a cosmic child abuser who cavalierly offers his kid. In fact, as those four words penetrated my deep places, I came to lay hold of the fundamental difference between Jesus’ Father and the caregivers I’d known.

The human caregivers I’d known had been for themselves. And I don’t mean that they were any more selfish than I am today. I mean that—bound by addiction, violence, mental illness, human limitation—they weren’t able to be for me the way that I needed them to be. Stuck, they were for themselves.

In the moment I heard those four words—I am for you—I got it.

I understood, at last, the difference between the two.

I’d been to church. I’d attended a Christian college. I’d gone to seminary. But it wasn’t until that moment, of my deepest pain, that I understood—if only in part—the meaning of the Trinity.

God, the Father of Jesus, was not for himself the way my caregivers had been. He wasn’t the kind of father who bailed on his son, who sacrificed his son. Nope. This Father gave his own life out of his love for me.

Does that math make sense?

That’s what the Christian doctrine of the Trinity means. It means that the Father sacrifices his own life out of love for me. Love for you. Love for his son.  He doesn’t throw us under the bus. He doesn’t leave us. He dies for us.

It was the moment I began to believe that I was worth loving.

That—as you might imagine—has changed everything. Marriage. Friendship. Everything.

Are you willing to pull back the mask you’ve given to God—one with glassy distant eyes, or one that’s disappointed, or one that’s angry—and see the Face that is true? Are you willing to reject the lie that God’s face is anything like the fleshy ones you’ve known?  Are you ready to look into a face that delights in you?

Say yes.

Margot Starbuck’s newest book Not Who I Imagined: Surprised by a Loving God gives readers a peek at the face that is true.

Purchase Books:

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Not-Who-Imagined-Surprised-Loving/dp/0801014948

BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/not-who-i-imagined-margot-starbuck/1115394210

Fun book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n18djvjd29A

PRIZES for sharing! (available to YOU and to your audience!) Anything you or your audience shares during March about Not Who I Imagined, on social media, tagging @MargotStarbuck—which includes sharing YOUR post—AUTOMATICALLY enters sharer to win $150 Amazon Certificate. (Two entries if you share link to Amazon!) More here: http://margotstarbuck.com/share-fairy

Photos for downloadhttp://margotstarbuck.com/press

LEAVE A REVIEW! http://www.amazon.com/Not-Who-Imagined-Surprised-Loving/dp/0801014948

Need anything else? OfficeofMargotStarbuck@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

Grief Journal for You

Which Way
to
My Happily Ever After?

Grief Journal

By PeggySue Wells

Saying good-bye is a reason for deep grief.
There are many good-byes in life. Some are easier than others. A good-bye can
be a natural part of life. Other partings are intensely painful.
Saying good-bye to a marriage relationship truly is a tearing of flesh and heart.
Giving up the family and heritage you dreamed of building together is a wrenching
heartache.
Perhaps the parting is between you and a beloved child. Someone precious to you
took an early journey home.
Losing a relationship, a job, a location, a dream – each is a significant adjustment.
We grieve the loss.
Grief work and mourning exact a toll emotionally, physically, spiritually, and
financially. It is also a time of growing, resting, learning, and yielding. Like deep muscle
exercise, this is all sorts of good, profound stuff. Grief cannot be avoided or sidestepped.
Sharing the journey helps. This journal is your companion through the process.
Each day for one month, read one statement and journal your thoughts and emotions. Putting one foot in front of the other, you will get through the desert of grief and enter the Promised Land of the next chapter of your life.
Take pen in hand, and begin. One day at a time.
*****

Time doesn’t really heal all wounds.
Time merely teaches us how to live
with this gaping hole in our heart.
How does your heart feel today?
*****

Crisis wears many faces.
Crisis can look like the loss of a loved one,
the loss of a relationship, the loss of a marriage, the loss of a job,
the loss of what is familiar due to relocation, the loss of a dream.
A crisis is a turning point.
Yet while we are in crisis we often feel powerless, hopeless, desperate, paralyzed.
Crisis can destroy us. Or crisis can make us stronger.
It all depends on how we face the face of crisis.
What does the face of your crisis look like?
*****

No one can avoid it, go around it, slide under it,
fly above it, or swim below it.
Grief cannot be walked around, it must be walked through.
One step at a time. One day at a time.
What are you most afraid of when you think of the future?
*****

It seems like you had to say good-bye
before you had the chance to say hello.
What dreams do you miss most?
*****

Life changed overnight.
This was so unexpected.
What was the biggest shock?
*****

Too often, tears are the only water
in the dry desert of grief.
What is the value of your tears?
*****

There are many difficult decisions to make.
What is your toughest choice?
*****

No one can take away the pain
and few understand the depth of your grief.
Though the scars remain, the open wound eventually heals.
How will this scar make you better?
*****

Swimming with the tide is easy.
Swimming against the tide increases your strength.
How are you becoming stronger?
*****

When you feel like you are in the pressure cooker,
it’s time to let off steam in a healthy manner.
Talk to a friend, take a walk, journal your honest thoughts,
scrub something until it shines.
How will you let off steam today?
*****

People often mean well, but say the wrong things.
Listen to their hearts, not their words.
How did someone show you that they care?
*****

Though the situation seems overwhelming right now,
may it soon open the door to opportunity.
Where do you feel overwhelmed?
*****

Someone may be willing to help carry the burden.
Maybe then it won’t seem so heavy.
Who is available to help you?
*****

Hope and encouragement are better than advice.
What does hope look like to you?
*****

Anniversaries of loss and grief are annual reminders of our pain,
and of how far we’ve come on the journey to the other side of grief.
How far have you already come on your journey?
*****

Our own deep grief reminds us not to turn away when we see others in pain.
We can cry with them. We can give a hug.
We can ask, “How are you?” and really mean it.
Who needs to hear from you?
*****

Another who is grieving can be a companion through the journey,
but may not be able to give comfort.
Two drowning people cannot save each other.
Who is strong for you?
*****

Healing cannot be rushed.
It’s harmful to tackle projects we’re not ready for.
There are no deadlines for when we must be over it.
Can you trust the process?
*****

When we are drowning in grief
it’s okay to cry.
*****

Where do you find encouragement?
We fear the waves of grief will overwhelm us.
Choose to ride though the powerful emotions now
so the unfinished process will not haunt the future.
How will this be a stepping-stone in your life?
*****

Being bitter about the loss only increases the pain.
We can be thankful for what we had, for what we still have,
and for what the future holds.
What are you thankful for?
*****

There is a whole world out there just beyond the pain.
There is a whole world out there in spite of the pain.
Go to a movie, try a new restaurant, visit a museum.
What will you do today?
*****

When someone wants to talk
and we don’t feel like it,
we don’t have to.
What do you not feel like doing?
*****

It helps to have a safe someone to talk to
when it’s time to talk.
Who is a safe someone you can talk to?
*****

It is surprising when close friends don’t understand.
It is surprising when support comes
from unexpected sources.
Where does your support come from?
*****

It’s not comforting when someone says,
“At least you had those years together.”
Or “At least you don’t have to worry anymore.”
At least we’ve learned not to tell another, “At least . . .”
We’ve learned to say, “I’m sorry.”
What else have you learned?
*****

Cocooning is tempting.
Some alone time is good.
Balance it with time out and with others.
Say yes to many invitations.
We can’t wait for someone to invite us out.
Invite someone else out for a milkshake or a concert.
What delights your heart?
*****

There is no aspirin for heartache.
Chocolate is medicinal.
So is tea.
What gives you comfort?
*****

A stuffed teddy bear is something to hold onto.
A good book or video is for losing your mind in something other than the pain.
Where does joy invite you?
*****

On the journey of grief
we will meet fellow travelers.
Perhaps we can walk a while together.
Will you walk a while with another?
*****

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or
seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8–9