Your Home is Beautiful

Your Home is Beautiful

Do you live in a house? Apartment? Duplex? Trailer?

Then you are very, very blessed.

Do you have a bed with a pillow? A kitchen with a skillet? A chair to sit on? A shower with running water?

Wow. Then you really have it made.

I’m guessing you might have more than a backpack to hold your clean clothes? Blessing upon blessing.

Since going to Colorado with my family a few weeks ago, serving alongside those who minister to the homeless, feeding families who don’t have enough food to nourish their children through the week, and learning more about those who have no place to call home – I can’t quite see my house the same as I did before.

It’s been easy for me through the years to find fault in the house we’ve lived in for the past eleven years.  Our abode is well over 100 years old. That means it has a lot of “character” right? Yes. If by “character” you mean that the toilets don’t flush well, the basement looks like the Adam’s Family lives there, and the dust from the Dirty Thirties is still stuck in crevices around each of our fifty drafty windows.

That’s how I look at my house when I have a self-focused perspective. The world tells me I need new, shiny, perfect, better, best, improved, highest quality, and spotless. Pinterest tells me I need my home and the contents therein to look like as though they climbed out of a magazine – completely unique, yet altogether trendy (which is oxymoronic, yet true). We must have the right color scheme, a lovely furniture arrangement, and classy wall decor. Otherwise, we must feel guilty, deprived, and less than.

What if we just decided to be thankful instead?

We don’t have central air in our house.  Below is a picture of our kitchen window air conditioner, sporting white cardboard and clear packing tape to seal off the window. (Which I felt was better than brown cardboard and silver duct tape, yes?)  I used to be embarrassed by this. Now I just appreciate that we have air conditioning on 100 degree days.

air_conditioner

Go ahead. Pin this. I dare you. You know you want one just like it in your window.
Perhaps we could start a unique trend.

Undoubtedly, God gave each of us our home and has called on us to use it for Him as we raise our family and offer hospitality. We need to keep it clean, take care of it, and create a space that will tell all who enter that our home is a place of peace and joy.

But beyond that, should we really lose sleep over the fact that our “to-do” list of needed home improvements is as tall as the pile of clutter in the corner? I’ve come to realize that having a foundation, walls, a floor, and a roof is more than many people have. Even if some of our furniture is old, worn, and stained – at least it’s furniture.

Look at your home through the eyes of the homeless. Your home is perfect – a gift. It is beautiful, and truly, you are blessed.

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Comments

  1. Carrie Gay says

    haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa we have several like this in our house, which is also old–93 yrs old. we also have one upstairs where my husband cut a whole in the wall to fit it in since the window in that room is a non opening kind!!!!
    my house still has orange shag carpet in many rooms that was here when we bought the house 17 years ago….I have almost become attached to it *wink*
    its about the love in the home not about what it looks like! thank you for the reminder

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  2. Brianna says

    Pinned it, because I know I will need to re-read this another day when I’m feeling down about the “design” of my 900sq foot house with 6 people, 4 under the age of 5. Ultimately I wouldnt change a thing (because that would mean I would need to pack it all up, lol!)

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    silverilex Reply:

    When we bought this 714 sq. foot, 3 bedroom, one bath house 12 years ago, we had five children- four of which were between 11 and 16, the youngest 3. I know where you are coming from! Four teenagers, one bathroom was a challenge… Still, I count my blessings to have a roof over my head. It has lots ‘wrong’ with it, but it’s more than a lot of people in the world have.

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  3. Julie Hayes says

    Beyond blessed! We frequently include how we are thankful for our (60 yr old) home in our bedtime prayers with the kids. Some of our kitchen cabinets are barely hanging on and we may only have one (very small) bathroom, but I remind my kids (and myself) that we have more than most people in the world.

    Great post! And I have fond memories of our window a/c unit as a kid, :)

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  4. Jamie says

    So very much needed this today! I started “decorating” my house that we have lived in for three years. I am a decorator by NO MEANS, but we hadn’t personalized the house at all yet. I let myself get caught up in needing new curtains, matchy-matchy furniture, let’s just look at new floors…then I remembered how much we love our home whether or not the curtains in the formal living room match the curtains in the dining room. Our first apartment was ONE bedroom with a bar in the kitchen to eat at (how quickly we forget). I stopped my decorating with a new paint color and a new bookshelf and I love it!
    Thank you for this today of all days!

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  5. Sarah says

    My mom especially is constantly telling me we “need a bigger house.” We are expecting child #3 in our 1150 sq ft, 3 bd house, and I constantly reply with, “people do much more with much less!”

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    Patrice Reply:

    “People do much more with much less”

    Great quote, I need to remember that.

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  6. Sami says

    I am so encouraged by this, and all the comments! I was just talking to my husband tonight about adding on… But not because I want a bigger house (more to clean?!), but because the state won’t let us take any more foster kids with our current room situation. Our home is a tool, a gift from God to be used for His kingdom–I hope we are good stewards.

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    Emily Reply:

    “Our home is a tool…” What a wonderfully challenging thought for me! How am I using this blessing of a home to glorify and serve God? Am I being a good steward in how I use my home? I need to ponder this, but thank you!

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  7. says

    I was reading your post, thinking you are so right and then I came to the part about your ac and then you said, “Which I felt was better than brown cardboard and silver duct tape, yes?” I died laughing because well…we do the brown cardboard with silver duct tape on our ac LOL!!!!!!!! =0 I never thought of using white lol. Thanks for the tip, if I had a Pinterest I would have pinned it haha. =0

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    Laura Reply:

    We have done brown cardboard with duct tape for years, but this year I was like, Hey I could at least camouflage it a little better with white cardboard and clear tape right?? We impressed ourselves that day. :)

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  8. jo says

    Thank-you so much. This came at just the right time for me. Time to stop thinking about what I haven’t got, and start think about what I have got!

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  9. Kathy T says

    Thank you for the reminder! I’ve struggled with inviting people over because our house isn’t as nice as others. But I am thankful and I have so many more comforts than others.

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  10. says

    I love my home(and the people in it)!! We’ve been here since the day we were married and though I’m sure we won’t live here forever I’ll be sad to leave it! We are very blessed!

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  11. Lyndsay says

    I too live in a house with “character”, lol! Our house was built in 1892, which makes it only 7 years younger than our actual town. We have 7 people and one bathroom. But we have beds (and my 5 & 8 year olds love to point out theirs are bunk beds with a slide!) and central air, and heat and clean water. We live paycheck to paycheck right now while our kids are little enough to need me home, but we live and feed our family, and God has always provided for us. We are truly blessed, thank you for the reminder.

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  12. Chris says

    This is such a wonderful reminder. Thank you for keeping our thoughts heavenward. We are so blessed in this country, yet we tend to still want more. I, too, have struggled with our 140+ year home, and all it’s *character*. The Lord has been working on me for 5 years! It really is all about thankfulness =)

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  13. Barbara says

    I pinned it to a new board entitled, Be Thankful! THANKS for the reminder. God has given us SO much to be thankful for!

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  14. Brenda says

    Thank you, Laura. A living room window currently has no plate of glass bc as it’s single strength, one of our boys knocked it out by accident the other day. Our house is 127 years old and is never (and never will be)”done” or “perfect”!!

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  15. says

    YES!! I often struggle with being frustrated about the way things are in my house because my father-in-law did them that way and it’s dumb. But those are the days I remind myself I have 3 toilets that flush; I was a functioning dishwasher and washer + dryer. Even with an old partially functioning hot water heater, I shower in warmth and safety. It’s so important for me to remember these things because they are blessings I do not want to live without.

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  16. Naomi says

    My house is only about 80 years old, but it sure does have character. I, like all of you above, have struggled with this house for the ten years I have lived here. Most of the struggles I endured have been because I am in my sixties and am physically unable to keep up with things these days. However, we are most blessed to have a home (rental) for only $450/month and your post today has served very well as a reminder for me to count my blessings. You are right about Pinterest, and yes, I’m going to pin this on my page. “I have learned (or am learning) to be therewith content”. Thank you so much for helping redirect my thoughts!

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  17. Crystal says

    Thank you for that reminder to just feel blessed because we have a home. I can get so caught up in the fact that it is so imperfect & need of repairs that I complain & feel embarrassed, not allowing anyone over until I get it perfect. That is such a “worldly” perspective. We need to just be grateful for what God has provided for us regardless of what the world says. Thank you again! I needed to hear that this morning! :-)

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  18. Liz says

    I LOVE this post! We live a chaotic life, owning several small businesses, and just don’t have money or time to invest in our home right now. And frankly, I’m not a great homemaker in that I don’t always excel at decorating, spit shining, etc. Sometimes I do! But mostly I am too busy and my focus is elsewhere.

    I am always feeling embarrassed and incapable!

    Thank you for reminding me what I have occasionally tried to remind myself – I am blessed and good enough is good enough!!

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  19. Betty Sievert says

    I’m 63 years old. When I was younger, we built such a beautiful home with a swimming pool, in a super nice neighborhood. I spent many hours fussing over that house. It always had to be “perfect.” I wish I had spent as much effort on my family. I’m divorced now, the children are grown, as are the grandchildren. What a journey! My priorities have changed so much. I am so thankful for the humble four walls that shelter me. All I need is enough, no more or less. “Too much and I might become vain, not enough and I might steal.” God said that.

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    Jennifer Reply:

    Betty- thank you for such an honest and humble comment and the reminder that I need to spend more time on my children and husband, and less time on my house!!!

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  20. Megan says

    I live in an old home as well. It is a 10-unit apartment building with small units. It has no a/c or central heat. But I have a home and am blessed. It has the character of an older building, is sturdily built and is close to our charming downtown area. I don’t need a car to get to many of our local events and businesses. I am blessed.

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  21. Julia says

    This is a lesson that took me several years to finally learn on my own. The house we’re currently in is our first, definitely a fixer-upper, that we’ve had little time and money in the last 8 years to do much with. I used to be embarrassed and frustrated with that until I realized that the fact alone that we have a house, much less one with a/c, running water, bathrooms, and kitchen appliances, puts us in the status of “wealthy” compared to so many in the rest of the world. So anytime I start thinking that we “need” to update whatever or I get embarrassed at the idea of people seeing our badly outdated carpet or bathrooms, I remind myself that I’m not defined by my house and what it looks like, I’M DEFINED BY HOW I USE IT. God doesn’t expect me to have the best before I can glorify Him with it, He just wants me to glorify Him with whatever I have! Such a hard lesson to daily live, though!

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  22. Libby says

    This was a great reminder to be thankful! I often find myself wishing that I had a bigger, nicer, cleaner house but I need to take a step back and realize how truly blessed I am. Great message!

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  23. says

    LOVE THIS! And that is my air conditioner too … complete with towels wadded up in between the crevices. Keep on keeping it real and being real with grace.

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  24. says

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. And as much as I usually live and breathe this philosophy (Ive written posts about it myself) every now and then I need a reminder when my nesting instinct kicks into overdrive and i wish our somewhat out-dated home could look newer and fresher. But then the Lord reminds me what a miracle it is to have dry walls and roof, along with clean running water and yes- an ugly but wifking window air conditioner!! And most of all, the gift of family that abides in this home. Thanks- great post im resharing it! :)

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  25. Charlotte Moore says

    WOW!!! Seems we all should be more thankful. Here I am with a house just about 33 years old with 2000 sq. ft. and a finished basement. Now don’t get me wrong the basement isn’t as nice as upstairs but it has a kitchen, bedroom, an office, a bathroom, and a JUNK room. It is sure more than some people have. We need a new roof, and our sheetrock is looking bad on the carport. We are still so BLESSED.
    My husband went on a mission trip a few years ago. He was so torn up with how little they had and how our place to them would be a mansion. He was actually embarrassed when one of the people came here and stayed with us a few days. He saw one family that lived in one room. We really are a BLESSED people.

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  26. Cindy says

    Thanks so much for this post…made me laugh AND cry! Sometimes we take things for granted and forget to just be thankful. We are each blessed in our own way! You sure hit home with me and Pinterest!

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  27. Jen says

    This really spoke to me today! I normally try to be very aware of how “materialised” our world has become and not to fall in that trap. But lately I have found myself discontent with our 100 year old home with old drafty windows and brown carpet. I drive past all these newly built homes with their beautiful windows and doors and gardens and find myself thinking, “if only…” But after reading your post today it has renewed me to be thankful that we live way out in the country on a small acerage. We have a barn (although it is lopsided) to house our couple goats and a chicken coop for our chickens. We have a huge garden. It’s all we have ever wanted even though it isn’t new and shiny and magazine perfect. Thank you so much! God bless you!

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  28. Jennifer says

    Oh Laura you are a gift from God. I have been struggling HARD to be content in this very tiny condo that my husband has rented for our (growing) family of five. Deeply desiring a permanent home with a yard and a garden and chickens, etc… I have been childish and selfish and irritable for weeks- knowing that I need to be thankful for what I have- but only able to focus on the negative. Thank you for reminding me that- but for the amazing Grace of God- I would be one of those women on the sidewalk holding a cardboard sign and wishing desperately for anything to call a home. Praise Jesus for his gift of a home… and a loving husband and three amazing children to share it with.

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  29. Annie says

    Right now, my home has a leak in three areas. After only 26 hours the medicine cabinet in the bathroom has fallen off due to water damage leaving a gaping hole in the wall. I find it difficult to share similar sentiments but I guess it was only slightly better that I discovered it was falling off and thus removing it instead of having it fall and smashing the glass.

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  30. says

    I lived in a 1965 Mustang when I was 16 years old in the Midwest in the dead of winter for around 3 months. All my clothing was in the back seat so I had to sleep in the front seat stratling the gear shift. This was in the early 80s. So all my life I dreamed of having my own home. Now I have had my home for around 11 years. I still need to fix things around my house. Two years ago we hired a roofer that stold all of are money and never fixed are roof it is on its last leg now. And I have been so upset about it that the only thing that has gotten me through this is I remember how hard it was living in my car with no bathroom and no shower so I actually keep having faith and praying that I will soon get my roof fixed and that it could be worse I could be homeless on the streets again. God does provide when I was living in my car I got a job at a gas station and I used there bathroom for scrub baths and it gave me money for food and friends gave me sleeping bags to sleep in. And boy was I always greatful for that Mustang to live in alot of people dont even have that.

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    Laura Reply:

    Bless you for sharing your experience with us!! God is so good to always provide.

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  31. Sandi says

    Wow. This is perfect timing. Our daughter will be getting married soon, to a wonderful young man. But his family is wealthy – they have an enormous, gorgeous house (a mansion, really). And I have been shocked to find that I feel intimidated by this. We have a relatively small house for 7 people (5 adults now, 2 minors) – it’s 1530 sq ft on the outside. The basement is mostly finished, which helps a ton, but still, it’s not huge, esp the kitchen. The house is only 20 years old, but so are the carpet, stove, countertops, etc! I don’t like the couch and loveseat (secondhand, but it’s good quality and it was free). Decoration is nil, because my brain simply does not work that way. So when I went to visit our future son-in-law and saw the mansion he lives in, incredibly tastefully decorated, I admit I was intimidated, and I felt inadequate because I’m so bad at decorating and at keeping things organized. I homeschool and also have a part-time business, so I don’t have a lot of time to spend on the house. This post has helped SO much, because I know that GOD gave us this house, and we DO use it for Him. This is a place that has made many people feel welcome and loved. THAT is what is important. Comparing it to those who have more than I do, or who are great at decorating, does me no good at all. I need to keep my eyes on CHRIST, strive to obey Him, do the best I can with what I have, and be content and grateful.

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  32. Tiffani says

    Laura, I pinned it! I want it as a reminder every time I go to my pinterest boards and feel “unblessed” that I am truly “blessed”!

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  33. says

    This is difficult to type, but recently (April), due to some financial difficulties, we lost our house. We are currently living with my gracious IL’s. Believe me, I am thankful *every single day*!

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  34. says

    Thank you for the reminder to be thankful. Sometimes I can get discouraged by the clutter I need to deal with, the marks on the wall from the kids, the to-do list, etc. But, we have such a wonderful home really. Even if it isn’t a showplace I really should never complain about it when I think about the alternatives. BTW, I did pin your air conditioner picture. :)

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  35. Karen S. says

    “Look at your home through the eyes of the homeless. Your home is perfect – a gift. It is beautiful, and truly, you are blessed.” Thank you; I will never forget this statement. I know we’re blessed; I love where we live, but there are some furnishings and appliances that need to be replaced. I’m down to a toaster oven and one working burner on my stove. I’m sure a homeless person would love to have that problem.

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  36. Rebecca says

    This past week we lost both our freezer and our hot water heater due to 14inches of flood in our basement. We lived without hot water for several days while waiting for cleanup and the plumber. When people asked how we were doing it, I though, hey at least I have running water indoors, we could do laundry on cold, flush the toilet and bathe. So many don’t even have that.

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  37. Christy says

    Thank you for posting this. I have struggled over the past few years with being envious of others’ homes and discontent with my own. We rarely have people over because it’s so embarrassing. We live in a trailer that our family of 5 has outgrown and it’s falling apart. The carpets are old and worn, the roof leaks, the frame has shifted, there’s mold and dust. There is so much that I hate about this place and most days I wish I could just move out that very second.

    But you’re right. We have food in the fridge, four walls, beds and central air. That’s enough to be thankful for despite all the problems it has. I’m sure someone without those luxuries would be very thankful to have a place like this and I will try to remember that.

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  38. Pam says

    Yay :) I need to share this with a high maintenance relative who asked when we were going to “modernize” our 20 year old kitchen cabinets.

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  39. Debbie says

    You are SO right on this topic! I lived in a third world country for three years and I know what dire poverty and homeless looks like. I have seen naked children and deformed adults begging for money and food. I have seen despair and hopelessness in the eyes of a country’s less fortunate. We Americans are so incredibly blessed and take so much for granted! We need to be humbly grateful for all that we have.

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  40. says

    So well said!!!!! I love my home because it’s mine! Through the years I’ve “made lemonade” out of the existing lemons. Is it perfect? Absolutely not! BUT it is beautiful to me and I’m so thankful that God has seen fit to give this to me.

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  41. Jamie Garcia says

    Thank you I needed this post a lot. I am judged by my family and IL’s b/c our house is “never clean”. I have a kitchen floor with literal holes in the flooring and water damaged cabinets, I also have 2 under 3 yo and one on the way. I clean as much as I can, and that is not just a cop-out, I really do, but it’s never going to “look” clean enough or stay clean with my babies. I feel like a failure and furious sometimes. I need to stop “poor me-ing” and start concentrating on making my home warm no matter what the floor looks like. Thank you for writing this.

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    Crystal Reply:

    Jamie,
    Maybe this poem will help…type it up and frame it somewhere conspicuous! :)
    (I saw it years ago–before I had the number of children I do now–and was touched by it; then I recently found it online somewhere, and decided I needed it in my home as well.)
    EXCUSE THIS HOUSE!
    Some houses try to hide
    the fact that children live there.
    Ours boasts of it quite openly.
    The signs are everywhere.
    For smears are on the windows,
    little smudges on the doors;
    I should apologize I guess–
    for toys strewn on the floor.
    But I sat down with the children–
    we played and laughed and read.
    And if the doorbell doesn’t shine,
    their eyes will shine instead.
    For when at times I’m forced to choose
    the one job or the other,
    I want to be a housewife–
    but first I’ll be a Mother.
    (Author unknown)
    I have this framed (over a hole we keep forgetting to patch) in the hallway, and I am humbled each and every time I read it. I hope it brings you the same measure of peace it’s brought to me.

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  42. Kate says

    The air conditioner picture made me laugh. We recently passed on our window units to a friend with an old home when we moved into a newer one with central air. When she went to use one, she first thought her son and his friends had taken off all the knobs. Nope. That AC unit worked really well but the knobs had long ago broken so, we always just kept a pair of pliers on the window sill to adjust it. I already owned the pliers, so why spend money on new knobs? :)

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  43. Kentuckylady717 says

    Thanks for posting this Laura, you are so right….been there done that…..we did not have a/c when I was growing up, so I don’t even need it now, even tho I do….I have central air, which I have not even turned on this summer….as a saying goes in a song I used to like, got along with out you, before I met you, going to get along without you now…..does anyone remember this song ? I didn’t think so LOL

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  44. Crystal says

    I am also grateful for this post! It seems so many people feel pressured to have “the perfect” everything! Is this what life is all about??? NO! It’s about the people, not the things! Thank you for reminding all of us.

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