Joyce’s 7 Keys to Marital Bliss

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This beautiful full moon bathed in a sunset appeared the night of our 25th wedding anniversary in southern AZ. It was a wonderful reminder of my sweet honey “moon” 25 years earlier. 

My husband and I celebrated 26 years of marriage this past week! Yay!!!! Last year for the big 25th anniversary, I was going to blog about how we celebrated. Of course urgent things, aka normal life, came up and I kept putting it off, and lo and behold, here we are another year later and I never did blog about it! I still want to blog about it with perfection but until then, I thought you all would enjoy hearing from my dear friend of Veggie Gals’ fame, Joyce.  Joyce is the powerhouse behind the Utah branch of the Consumer Funeral Alliance. She’s been blissfully married even longer than I have so she is more wise as to marriage. Joyce is one of the happiest people I know! She just exudes joy! So please read her 7 Keys to Marital Bliss posted below and enjoy! There is sooooo much wisdom in the following words! Whenever I think of Joyce I think of my 21 year old daughter because I was pregnant to near bursting at nearly nine months with her when Joyce and I first met. It was my first La Leche League meeting back in November of 1995. That means I have known Joyce for as many years as my daughter is old. Here’s to 26 years of marriage, almost 22 years of life for my daughter and almost 22 years of friendship with Joyce!

7 Keys

to

Marital Bliss

by Joyce Mitchell

It was challenging for me to be the spouse of an entrepreneur. The following insights worked like magic in improving my satisfaction and happiness. I’ve come to believe these insights can improve all relationships.

This booklet is written from a Mormon perspective because I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.

If you ask God for help as you apply these keys and keep open to promptings (see Galatians 5:22), God will show you all kinds of help & healing.

Be humble AND honest with yourself and you will be successful.

Key #1 LETTING GO IS HELPING.

I awoke at 3 am to find that my husband, a BYU student at the time, was still not home from the computer lab. I usually worried, then nagged him home. This time I prayed for him to solve the problem he was working on, then I fell back to sleep.  The next day I asked what time he solved his problem and he said, “3am.”

Wow! That made me awake to the fact that the power of prayer was on my side. I began with confidence, to put things I couldn’t control into God’s hands. I learned the importance of “praying in the spirit”, which means to be humble and repentant and open to God’s will when praying.  (D&C 46:30)

Key #2 SEEK TO KNOW GOD.

First my husband was occupied with college then he started his own company. Our children demanded a lot of attention from me with little relief. I was overwhelmed.

In my efforts to “make things better” I tried: complaining, criticizing him, seeking entertainment, even focusing on our hope for success. None of these produced results.

Eventually I sought God with all my heart. What did God show me?

My own shortcomings.

So I repented of everything revealed to me, whenever I saw anything. I didn’t try to be perfect. I just gave self-examination all the honesty I had and Jesus provided the perfection.

Then one day, while driving my car I had a transformative experience.

As I pondered my gratitude for God I was engulfed with an infusion of His love.

Feeling God’s love satisfied a longing deep within. From then on I knew who to go to for attention, for comfort and for internal strength: God!

 Seeking God instead of my spouse’s attention, instead of success, instead of anything, has blessed me to enjoy love and fulfillment I never knew possible.

Before this time I had what I refer to as a cold icicle heart and loved people only to the extent a hard heart could. But God gave me a new heart like He showed is possible in Ezekiel 36:26.  Now I naturally exude love from God’s divine inflow of love that was always there but I used to block. I feel all good things more deeply and when I feel bad I can cry, to God.

Key # 3 ENJOY THE DAY.

Today is the day to enjoy, not a future day.

Life was a drag when I spent a day hoping for financial success or seeking to satisfy my flesh. Fantasy created yearning and dissatisfaction. I was not enjoying my day.

Many people try indulging in the desires of the flesh to enjoy the day. We buy stuff, eat a lot, watch shows… Eventually my flesh was driving me crazy. This made me seek the Holy Spirit to show me how to get through a day. I found satisfaction!    Now when I want to “get a lot done” I pray instead to enjoy my day.  Why? Joy is one of the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:22) and “where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor 3:17) and I love to be free.

 Key #4 EXTEND HOSPITALITY.

In D&C 25 God tells Emma Smith to “be a comfort to your husband, Joseph, with consoling words, in the spirit of meekness”…  He concludes, “lift up thy heart and rejoice….let thy soul delight in thy husband and the glory which shall come upon him.”

This has been inspiring to me because there were many women in history whose husbands spent untold weeks, months and years away from their families, and here is the counsel of the Lord to one of those women. It is not worldly counsel.

So I applied it to myself. Since then I’m often on the lookout for ways I can comfort my husband, regardless of my circumstance or his.

I deal with any workplace drama or other negative influences around him without trying to meddle because my calling is “to be a comfort to him with consoling words (and humor) in a spirit of meekness, AND to let my soul delight in the GLORY which SHALL come upon him.“

For example, how can a man resist coming home when even the family pet couldn’t greet him with as much enthusiasm and adoration as his wife? Joyful greetings have become contagious in our home and has since become how we greet all regulars. 

Key #5 FULFILL YOUR MISSION.

One day on vacation I had no obligations to anyone. I looked at a list of activities and felt joy rise up in my heart concerning one.  It felt like a fountain of joy (John 4:14).  So I honored the feeling by doing that activity and the results were so satisfying. From that day forward I’ve embraced that lesson to follow my joy.

Turns out joy is how the Holy Ghost guides me (D&C 11:13). So I kept following my joy, discovering passion for various interests. I began to recognize my gifts & talents as I sought to serve those interests. Now I feel like I’m fulfilling a purpose every day. Consequently, I let my husband and others follow their joy too. I trust that God can guide them just as well as He has guided me.

Now I enjoy all humans more than ever.

Key #6 BE CHASTE.

When I stopped indulging in sexual fantasy my spiritual progress in overcoming a food addiction really took off.  D&C 63:16

To help me avoid fantasy I talk to God HONESTLY. He helps me sort out any misunderstandings influencing my thinking AND what to do about it.

When tempted I keep my mind on 1) the good things I feel in the moment 2) how to send my husband my love, 3) positive things that I admire or want in life (Phil 4:8), and 4) I pray for myself & others.

If your spouse is the one indulging in fantasy it helps to be patient, not punitive, and to apply the other keys. If distress is severe seek out the LDS 12 Principle meetings (designed to empower those trying to help an addict) See: ARP.LDS.org

Key #7: BELIEVE JESUS.

One day my husband went to a movie that I thought was stupid instead of spending time the way I felt he should. When he came home I was about to make him feel bad when the Holy Spirit reminded me that Jesus said it’s NOT ok to be angry. (Matt. 5:22,44-46, 1 Peter 3, 1 John 4:21-22).

I BELIEVED Jesus in that moment, turned right around and went to my room to pray. Upon asking I instantly felt the anger lift from me and go to Jesus and he took it. I was then able to see my husband clearly and interact in an up-building way. Since then I’ve noticed that every time I do what Jesus taught, the love and satisfaction in our marriage increases.

Here is an example of 3 things Jesus said that directly blessed me. He taught to believe on Him (John 6:28-29), to humble ourselves (James 4:6,10) and to choose to love (1 John 3:22-24). Every time I’ve chosen these things I’ve witnessed a miracle take place that has caused our marriage to go to a new, higher level, of satisfaction and happiness.

Afterwards our bliss also stayed at that new higher level without effort!

Really believing Jesus has truly blessed our marriage with MIRACLES.

         

4 books helped me over the years:  Emmanuel Swedenborg’s Heaven & Hell expanded my perspective.  

Bonds That Make Us Free helped me learn the truth about why I perceived other people as jerks and what to do about it.

 

And last but not least, daily reading of The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ  & The Holy Bible, for me, have acted as daily medicine that clears the fog.

 

I testify that my husband and I live in marital bliss only as we access the inspiration and power of God. When we leave that we leave bliss.

 

May you receive marital bliss too, through the word of God continuously revelating to you, through the power and grace of Jesus Christ. (James 4:6)

Addendum:

After I was changed into a new person I was surprised that my husband still responded to me as though I hadn’t changed.

Since I had taught him for 10 yrs to expect me to criticize, complain and control I decided I would give him 10 years to see me in a new light.

It didn’t take that long. Giving him that space worked miracles and our joy increased again.

written April 2013, updated Jul 2017

 

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The Power of the Book of Mormon

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I love this quote from President Monson that appears on the wall at the seminary building where my son attends. It makes me smile every time I walk by it.  It comes from Pres. Monson’s talk in the most recent General Conference, April 2017. I’ve had a few experiences that have meshed together to make me committed to follow his admonition and read from the Book of Mormon every day.

  1. I learned from my Veggie Gal friend Becky Edwards to do a “Prayer Sandwich.” This is where you commune with God according to a formula that looks like a sandwich. You begin with prayer that has a written question for God. So you write down your question in your journal. That’s like the “bread.” Then you do a “filling” of reading the scriptures immediately after you ask the question, then you end with a prayer, the final slice of “bread” with your journal open and your pen right by you as you pray. Then you write down any impressions you get. Becky gave a challenge to ask a question of God every day using this “Prayer Sandwich.”
  2. I listened to Elder Devn J. Cornish give his BYU-I keynote commencement speech about putting the desire to please God above every other standard, rule, desire, or goal we have for our life.
  3. The above two elements combined in my mind to frequently use as my question for God, “What can I do today, God, that would please Thee the most?” and then to read in the Book of Mormon to get the answer, since reading this holy book will bring us nearer to God than any other book, according to Joseph Smith. (History of the Church, 4:461)

I’ve had some wonderful experiences the past few weeks using that question in my prayer sandwich and reading from the Book of Mormon. I have been able to find lost items, start to repair a damaged relationship, and feel protection. I have felt tons of hope! I challenge you to do the same! Blessings will flow to you, as promised by Pres. Monson in the quote.

Here is an example of a woman who got an amazing blessing of losing her cigarette addiction by reading the Book of Mormon, told by Pres. Hinckley in Chapter 16 of the Teachings of President Gordon B. Hinckley manual:

Let me tell you [another] story about the Book of Mormon. I heard a man who was a banker in California tell this story. He said his secretary smoked, constantly smoked. She was addicted to smoking. She could not set it aside. She said to him one day, “How can I stop smoking?”

He reached down in his desk and took out a copy of the Book of Mormon and handed it to her. He said, “Now, you read this.”

She said, “All right, I’ll read it.”

She came back a couple of days later and said, “I’ve read 200 pages, and I didn’t see the word smoking anywhere. I didn’t see the word tobacco anywhere. I saw nothing that referred to it.”

He said, “Keep reading.”

So she came back another couple of days later and said, “I’ve read 200 more pages—no mention of smoking, no mention of nicotine, no mention of anything associated with tobacco.”

He said, “Keep reading.”

She came back three or four days later. She said, “I’ve read the entire book. I didn’t see tobacco anywhere; I didn’t see smoking anywhere. But,” she said, “there has come into my heart as a result of reading that book some influence, some power, that has taken from me the desire to smoke, and it is wonderful.”

Wow! That is amazing, I love that story! It shows how anyone can benefit from reading it. So, like President Monson, I plead with you to read it every day. Read for at least 5 minutes. You will get protection, power to resist temptation, answers, doubt and fear will go away, and you will have the help of angels. I know this true and I testify it is so in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

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The Tucson Temple Cultural Celebration

Hooray! The youth in our area got to perform some delightful song and dance last Saturday to celebrate the Tucson Temple being dedicated. Then on Sunday August 13 the temple was dedicated. We have another temple in our land to retreat to, in order to gain strength, protection, and inspiration. I am so grateful! I can’t find the official church recordings yet of the whole thing, so this “homemade” one will have to do. The missionary song and dance that my kids performed in was so cute!

Here’s a short clip from the cornerstone sealing.

And a bit about the temple in general.

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A Dream Come True!

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This past week, despite my long-held belief that a proper, formal fall school semester should not start until after Labor Day, we went “back to school.” We homeschool and do some “school” things year round, like math, reading silently on our own, and reading aloud. And handwriting, when I remember, LOL! I have a list of a Daily Dozen activities, including academics, that I expect my kids to do on their own without me being a drill sergeant before they have screen time. We read the scriptures every morning year round and write in our journals as a family every morning. Unless we are on vacation, which we’ve had quite a bit of this summer. We went to Utah in May, June, and then July.  So we had a break from the academics on those days. We still do scriptures and journaling, even on vacation, much to second son at home’s chagrin.

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The first day for my two younger kiddos in Key of Liberty! It’s hard to believe my “little kids” are old enough! This is a LEMI Scholar Project about the Founding era of the United States. So the kids study the American Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution. 

But in this case we went back to a “family liber school.” What is a liber school? It is a family-based school that meets once a week for homeschooled families. The moms take turns teaching. Some call it a commonwealth school. It’s like a co-op on steroids. But unlike a co-op, it has a broader, long-lasting structure with formal rules to ensure that it stays in the community even if the founding families move on. It is built to create a legacy of freedom for generations. It is usually based on the freedom-based, or “liber” based model that has grown out of the Thomas Jefferson Education philosophy. (Liber basically means liberty.) We attended one of these schools in Utah, Liber Academy, and loved it. My three older kids all “graduated” from it.

My son on an LDS mission has a great super awesome best friend who also graduated from this school. This friend got accepted into BYU at age 16. The video below features him. It encapsulates the kind of youth that can be produced by a commonwealth school, if the student chooses to do the work and be inspired.

 

I attempted to start a school like this last year in my newly adopted hometown after moving here. It fizzled. I learned a lot of lessons along the way. After it flopped I felt quite lonely. That no one wanted to be part of my tribe. God heard my silent pleadings for help. I don’t think I ever voiced them out loud in prayer, but He heard them anyway, of course, because he knows all the thoughts and intents of our hearts (Alma 18:2). I had resigned myself to solely teaching my two tween kids the Key of Liberty LEMI scholar project in the fall of 2017 at my home without building a school on top of it.  I would just offer the class as a stand-alone thing to other homeschooling families in the area without saying a word about all the other LEMI scholar project offerings they were missing, in the form of a commonwealth school. I wouldn’t bother getting someone to teach the Shakespeare Conquest LEMI scholar project like I did last year.

We’ve already had one parent mentor meeting/book discussion. It was about The Anatomy of Peace. It’s such a great book! I read and discussed it years ago. This video shows a key story that the book focuses on.

But God had bigger plans for me and I am so grateful! Last spring, a TJED friend of mine whom I met in Utah over 5 years ago, Olivia, tracked me down because she had moved to AZ as well. She told me she was building a new TJED-based school here in southeastern AZ! Her news was manna from heaven! I felt like God was speaking to me through her, as a voice through the darkness and fog. I was so thrilled and told her to sign me up! Even if it meant driving over an hour to get to the school. “You mean I don’t have to be alone anymore in my desire to meet with other homeschool moms face to face in discussing classics on a weekly basis?” I told her. “You mean I will have other moms who have the vision I have of leadership education?” “You mean my kids will have lots of friends who come from the same homeschooling culture of working hard on family chores, playing hard, having some schoolwork, and not much screen time?” “You mean I will be able to have a monthly parent mentor meeting where moms and dads come together to discuss the classics, a built-in date night?” YES! YES! YES! Sign me up!

Discussing the Anatomy of Peace inspired me to come home and watch more videos about it, like the one above.

I can’t tell you how much the news of a relatively-close liber family school has meant to me! It helped put closure on my failure.

Olivia showed this video in our mom class on the first day of school. It totally helps me feel OK about my failure!

 

Olivia’s news helped the past be a distant memory of lessons learned and friendships still intact, all wrapped up with a huge, hopeful feeling of moving on to engage with new friends who share my vision. It meant I now had a group to look forward to meeting in the “fall” (down here the “fall” starts in early August) to feel at home with who speak the language of leadership ed culture. Now that “fall” is here (according to AZ standards–I feel like I live in an alternate reality with public school going on the whole month of August, high school football practice year-round, and rainy weather almost every day which I am used to happening not until the middle of September).

Mayflower by [Philbrick, Nathaniel]

I feel like we parents in this new school are starting a new adventure like the Pilgrims, bound together in a covenant community to help each other. Olivia mentioned this book at our parent mentor meeting, which is about the Pilgrims. She has been reading it to teach Key of Liberty and that inspired me to get it on audio from the library to listen during my “windshield time” this fall. With this new school, and two boys in football and the seminary carpool that went kaput I will be having a lot of this!

We are going to this school now! As I drove to the first day recently, It was amazing to think that this long-held dream of a family-based liber school in southeast AZ was coming true! Olivia had been talking about this and building it for months and now it was finally happening! We’ve only had one day so far. My kids aren’t saying they love it but in time I think they will make friends and look forward to it every week.

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When I got home from the long drive after our first day of school, after dropping off first son left at home for football practice, and then picking up our raw milk, I saw this beautiful rainbow from my front yard. It was like God sent it just to me, to remind me of the promise He made to Noah. Not just that promise, but the promise that He never forgets me. He is always watching over me and sometimes, He brings to pass my unspoken dreams, as a tender mercy, just to remind me that He loves me and delights in surprising me with huge, bountiful gifts that I didn’t even think to ask for! I wonder what other surprises He has in store for each of us?

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The Hand of God in Our Lives 8/7/17

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I snapped this pic while taking my walk in the park last Saturday. Yes, it is a group of ants using teamwork to get their dinner, a dropped French fry, across the sidewalk over to their home. Isn’t this the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? Here’s the destination, below.

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I love that God shows us through nature what team work looks like! We can either push or pull together to get a load moved so we can all benefit! Just like these ants all worked together to get their food storage down their ant hole. They were all pushing and pulling in the same direction. Nobody was fighting or working the opposite way. Now they can have some food for the upcoming days/fall/ winter, I have no idea which. I wonder just how long these three French fries will last them?

I have seen team work in my family lately. My lovely daughter came to be with us for three whole days after her college graduation. Now she is in Mexico doing humanitarian work. She graduated from college debt free (cue Dave Ramsey music!) and she paid to go on this trip with her own money. I am one pleased mama! She is super nice too. I have been meaning to blog about this, for a long time, how she gave me a birthday gift of a lovely Pioneer Woman butter dish, many months ago. She didn’t even know that it would match my tablecloth, but it did!

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Then we had a campfire dinner of roasting hot dogs last week. I love to do this whenever the big kids come home as a way to celebrate. I asked the kids to build the fire. The surly 12 year old was not helping.

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With my other son gone to football practice we were missing some crucial Boy Scout fire building skills! The fire kept dying out. So I told the 12 year old how much we needed his help and he finally pitched in to get us a blazing fire.

Last Friday night my peace was threatened to be destroyed but then family team work swooped in to save my day. I had been planning for weeks on having a good old-fashioned date to a liberal arts based parent mentor meeting, just like in the old days when we lived in Utah. We had these wonderful friends who had regular Moms and Dads as Mentor Meetings. Our commonwealth group had near monthly meetings for parents as well where we discussed classics. So I had two groups to fan my fires!

Well the first one for my new liberal arts based homeschool group that is forming here in southern AZ was last Friday. I was so jazzed about going! We would be discussing Anatomy of Peace, one of my favorite books. I would get to be with my husband and have fun talking with him in the car on the way and back. I would get to start to make new friends with other homeschooling moms and dads and socialize with them to start our new school year. But then around 3 PM my husband texted me and said that second son living at home had a football practice at 5:30 that afternoon.

What?!? Why were we just getting this piece of information? There was no way we could get him to that and pick him and still go on the date, which is over an hour away one way. I had already arranged for first son living at home’s ride home from football practice. I was so mad! I don’t like having last minute surprises change my plans! I reluctantly decided my husband would have to stay home to do the driving. But then my dear daughter overheard the conversation and offered to give up her nigh with her boyfriend and his family so she could do the driving. Oh, bless you my daughter!

 

So I was able to go on the date and it did feel like old times with the camaraderie of people who are wanting to learn from the classics and be social at the same time. We learned a bit about parliamentary procedure, with a simulation using Roberts Rules of Order. That made it feel like old times as well. That’s because when my older kids were young teens they both had a statesmanship class where they studied that book. My son even took the test Roberts Rules, passed with flying colors, and became an official parliamentarian. In the simulation we as a group of parents had to use Roberts Rules to make a Chex Mix pleasing to our tastes. We all agreed not to put in any mushrooms or garlic! I was super pleased with myself that I resisted eating any as I knew I wasn’t hungry and would just be eating to deal with emotions of wanting something sweet to calm my slight anxiety of being in a new social situation. The Chex mix did look good, even though I do avoid processed cereal. One of the moms brought cookies too that looked super yum but I self-denied.

 

 

I feel that God reached out to me through my daughter to remind me of how much he loves me. Sometimes you just have those magical moments when you are reminded of that and it’s wonderful!

I love to read the Ensign in the Gospel Library app on my phone before I go to sleep. It’s the perfect calming way to end the day. I find stories of God reaching out to people to remind them of how much He loves them. My favorite story of all time is this one. It is an amazing story of a woman who lived in my current state of Arizona who grew up as an orphan. She didn’t even know her original name, only the name that the nuns at the orphanage gave her. God directed her path and led her to the true gospel, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to her long lost family. It’s such a miraculous story that shows the hand of God! So go read it! I testify that God is watching over you and has great blessings in store for you too that are just as amazing as finding out you have more than a dozen siblings you never knew you had!

How have you seen the hand of God in your life recently?

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Universal Model Presentation on Earth Science!

This presentation from the good people from the Universal Model is hot off the press! It just got released yesterday on YouTube! Enjoy!

 

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Book Review and Giveaway: An LDS Approach to Energy Healing

ORDER my books below or on Amazon.

It’s time for another book review and giveaway! This time it’s about energy healing. How does the doctrine of the LDS Church fit with alternative healing, which means healing that is beyond allopathic medicine? You will find the answers to that question in the above pictured book by Tamara Laing. Tamara also wrote the book, The Healing Arts: a Gift from God. You can read a review of the first book here.

Here is what Tamara says about her second book, pictured above:

Over the summer of 2016 I wrote a second book, An LDS Approach to Energy Healing.  The new book includes MANY generational healing and spiritual gifts quotes. There are step by step instructions on how to do Deep Emotion Release (DER) on yourself or others. This is my favorite method to clear Generational Issues, and does so through the eyes.  It is what the spirit has taught me to do over the years as I’ve worked with family, neighbors, clients and helped conference attendees. 


This new book is a “HOW TO” book on one form of Energy Healing.  It teaches one approach (while my first book, Healing Arts – A Gift from God contains LDS validation for many energy techniques).

Like my first book, this second book also has two chapters on darkness vs. light. The new book has a few unique lists which may be helpful for facilitators. This book also has practical steps on how to “dance in the rain” even while life’s seeming chaos surrounds you. 

Here are some of the chapter topics from the book:

Power

About Doctrine

Spiritual Gifts

Deep Emotional Release

Forgivness

Gratitude

Praise

Faith Talk Statements and Imageries

Charity

Quotes About the Eyes

Mental Illness

Generational Releasing

Generational Quotes– General Authorities and Scripture

If you are into energy healing, this book will empower you. If you don’t know anything about energy healing, this book will open your eyes to a whole new world. Please enter the giveaway by making a comment below. Drawing will be held on Sat. August 26, 2017.

 

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