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Archive for the ‘Our Christian witness’ Category

For 36 years I have had the joy of bringing gifted keynoters to the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and inviting the community to come hear their messages free of charge.

These keynotes are for all Christians, NOT just those interested in writing for publication. You do not need to register. Just join us August 8-10 in the chapel at Dock Mennonite Academy, 1000 Forty Foot Road, Lansdale, PA (just off the Lansdale exit of the North/South PA Turnpike I-476). You won’t be disappointed!

Thursday, August 8, 7:30 pm
Michael Gantt

The sad fact for America is that our gross national sin has made God our enemy. Can judgment be turned away without confession and repentance on a national scale?

Just as God spoke through the Old Testament prophets to warn His people to return to Him, I believe He has given Michael an urgent message for today.

Friday, August 9, 8:30 am
Bill Myers

As communicators for Christ [and that’s all of us – not just writers] it’s imperative we understand Christianity is not for the religious. We must know the Good News is not about trying to be good but being supernaturally transformed.

Bill’s books and videos have sold over 8 million copies and won over 70 awards. Not bad for a man who never wanted to be a writer!

Friday, August 9, 7:15 pm
Scoti Domeij

Deluged by stressful circumstances? Suffocated by a life-altering event? When swallowed by a monster billow, discover how the salty psychology of seismic circumstances will unleash a tsunami of words to comfort others and point them to the Lord. 

Scoti is the proud Gold Star mother of Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Kristoffer Domeij, KIA October 22, 2011, in Afghanistan on his 14th deployment, the most deployed soldier in American history to be killed in action.

Author Interviews & Booksigning following Scoti’s keynote. Come meet over 40 authors who will be happy to autograph their book for you to give to a loved one or to keep for yourself!

Saturday, August 10, 8:30 am
Peter Lundell

In a society that is increasingly deceived and divided, our calling is to write [and speak] in the opposite spirit. What does this mean, and how do we effectively and consistently do it?

Peter is a writer, pastor, and teacher who helps people connect with God and live by God’s Word and Spirit. 

Saturday, August 10, 4:30 pm
Beatrice Bruno

Do you doubt the gifting God has placed within you? You can be loosed from the doubt, fear, and unbelief many writers [and NOT just writers] face today because of what they have been told, what they believe, and what they acknowledge! But God . . . 

Beatrice is an ordained gospel minister, life and writing coach, and Army veteran.

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2019 CO banner & website

In just ten weeks several hundred writers will gather on the mountain at the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park Center, for the 23rd annual Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

With the ongoing theme of “Write His Answer” from Habakkuk 2:2, CCWC always seeks to address issues. This year, our opening general session on Wednesday night will feature the instructors of the six workshops in our “Issues” track. They will give a brief introduction of their topic and challenge us to use the gift of words the Lord has entrusted to us to make a difference.

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Charles Patricoff
America at the Crosswords

Charles is an author with a personal passion for American history and our nation’s unique Christian heritage. As a Jewish follower of Yeshua, Charles speaks at Pro-Life and Tea Party rallies about our godly American heritage. “I write to preserve life and liberty, because by fighting to provide freedom for others, we preserve freedom for ourselves.” For over 35 years he supported the Department of Defense where his work gained recognition throughout the military and weapons development corporations. He says, “Christian writers can prepare believers to advance the kingdom of God as America takes another step toward complete rejection of its Judeo-Christian roots.”

David Rupert
David Rupert
The Rocks Cry Out

David is a corporate communicator, journalist, ghost-writer, and featured writer at Patheos Evangelical. He just published Living a Life of Yes. Visit his Living a Life of Yes Podcast. “Are you afraid to engage?” David asks. “In today’s world, traditional principles provoke reactions that can be unfair and personal. But the shrinking Christian writer does the world no good. Let’s learn to write truth!”

 

Rick Marschall MMM2
Rick Marschall
Speaking Life to a Culture of Death

Rick is the author of 74 books, editor for three newspaper syndicates, writer for Disney, Editor of Marvel Comics, and has written hundreds of articles. He currently edits Innovative Health Magazine and is looking for writers! And for 10 years he has written the weekly blog  MondayMinistry.com. Rick says, “The foundation of every contemporary crisis is Death: abortion, homosexuality, divorce, abuse, drugs . . . all wage war on procreation, the family. How can we redeem Truth and Life to this generation?”

Bill Watkins2
Bill Watkins
Answering Christianity’s Critics

Bill is the president of Literary Solutions and the senior editor at BroadStreet Publishing Group. A long-time writer, editor, mentor, consultant, teacher, and speaker, Bill is the award-winning author of seven books (including The New Absolutes, The Transforming Habits of a Growing Christian, and A House United? Evangelicals and Catholics Together), twenty-five study guides, and about 180 other pieces of writing. He is married and has seven adult children and seven grandchildren. He enjoys reading, movies, deep conversations, dating his wife, and playing with his grandkids. Bill will address antagonism toward the Christian faith and believers. “It is at a new high in American culture. Find out how you can answer the critics and win their respect while building the confidence of believers.”

Michael Gantt Apr 2016
Michael Gantt
The Burden of the Watchman

Michael served in pulpit ministry for 45 years and as Senior Minister at Agape Christian Fellowship in Brattleboro, Vermont. Most recently, he is the director of the Kenya Development Fund, a strategic development ministry among the deaf of Kenya. He travels widely, preaching in churches and conferences across America and around the world. He maintains his blog site where he writes on a variety of issues. His heartbeat is driven by the twin themes of guarding the integrity and authority of the Bible and the restoration of the home as the Center of the Kingdom.  He is the author of three books: Eddie: Adventures with a 41-Year-Old RV and the Lessons We Learned From Him, MAKUTANO: Lives Intersecting to Write God’s Story, and Cry Mercy: America’s one hope may be in her destruction. Michael says, “There are some who see what others do not see, hear sounds others do not hear, and discern danger before danger reveals itself. Should he sleep, the loss of the city will stain his hands forever.”

Bruce porter 2019
Bruce Porter
Make Some Noise!

Bruce is a “man with a mission” to call people into biblical truth and Christians back to their ancient roots and radical passion for Christ no matter the cost.  Church planter, pastor, international speaker, and responder to disasters worldwide, Bruce brings a unique perspective that challenges and motivates his readers. His most recent book is Destroying the Shadow Agenda – A Christian Manifesto. He writes, “Paul Revere’s night ride of 1775 rallied the Colonists. Christian writers are also night ‘writers’ upon their keyboards to awaken God’s army. A Shadow Agenda seeks to discourage us, but Bruce sees only inevitable victory in Christ. He encourages God’s heralds to ‘Write His Message’ of Christ’s final ultimate victory over the Shadow Agenda!”

 

And Wednesday evening is just the beginning of what will be a life-changing conference that features:

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Sheri SchofieldSheri Schofield is an amazing lady! Really, that’s not surprising since she serves our amazing God.

Last year Sheri received the Writer of the Year Award from the Colorado Christian Writers Conference for her persistence not just in getting her children’s picture book in print but for turning a mistake into a blessing.

The Prince and the Plan: Leading Children to Jesus in 24 Memory Making Lessons is an interactive  picture book written for children ages 4-8 that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus.

Sheri bookSheri is the author and illustrator of this 218-page full-color book. Can you imagine her dismay when it came off press and she opened the box to discover the books were mistakenly printed in black and white? She had a tough choice to make. She could allow the books to be destroyed or purchase them at the deeply discounted price of $4,180.

Sheri didn’t have $4,180, but God’s people did. As a result, 2,000 black & white copies of The Prince and the Plan were not trashed but instead are in the hands of children on Montana Native American reservations! And this is just the beginning.

“So many children in Helena and across America have never heard of Jesus at all,” Sheri wrote in a recent newsletter. “The Lord has spoken to my heart about a tidal wave of children who are growing up in America without any knowledge of Jesus or God’s ways whatsoever.

“Do you remember watching the tsunami hit Japan in 2011? It rose and rolled over the land, destroying everything and everyone in its path. That’s what is coming toward America spiritually: darkness pouring over a land without Jesus.

“It is for this reason that Tim and I have gone all out to provide The Prince and the Plan for the children. It is our attempt to stem the tide, to turn it to a flood of Jesus’ light instead. We are even doing billboards to let people know about this gospel presentation.”

Sheri billboard.jpg

But Sheri has a vision that extends beyond Montana and the United States.

From March 3-12 Sheri will be in Mexico. Part of her work there will be teaching a seminar on children’s ministries to church teachers in the mountain towns. She will be taking the Spanish translation of  The Prince and the Plan so they can use it to lead children to Jesus.

Sheri writes, “I’ll be doing multisensory teacher training, like I’ve used in the book. For instance, in the story of David & Goliath, Jesse sent David to take BREAD and CHEESE to his brothers – that’s how David managed to be in the army camp. When I tell this story, I give each child a small amount of bread and cheese. This stimulates multisensory learning, and they remember the stories a whole lot better. (I’ve had older children tell me in detail the stories they had heard from me years before!)

“The problem is this: Good wages in Mexico are about $8 per day – for a man. Poverty is rampant. The Christians cannot even afford to have potlucks, for they barely have enough food for themselves. As I have prayed about this, the Lord has put it on my heart to ask them to pray for the provisions they will need to teach multisensory Bible lessons. (I’ll be taking some non-food equipment for them, but they will need ongoing food and supplies for this type of teaching.) I believe the Lord will do so, but it will take great faith for them. After a lifetime of poverty and barely scraping by, this will be a HUGE challenge for them.

“To help them step out in faith, I feel that I should ask God for a sign they would recognize as an indication of His blessing on this. I know very little Spanish and there will be an interpreter for the classes I’ll teach. But I feel I should ask God to give me the language gift of Spanish while I teach. I am friends with these people. They know I barely speak Spanish at all. If the Lord were to give me the language for these classes, I think it would make them bold in asking the Lord to provide for multisensory Bible teaching.

“Right now, the youngest children attend church, but they stop coming as they grow older – much like in the USA. I have found that this way of teaching draws the older children, too. It could make a huge difference in leadership development in the churches of Mexico.

“So, though I’ve never asked this of God before, I’m asking for the gift of Spanish for the times when I am teaching and communicating with these women. Would you please pray this for me, too?

“Also, we are going into drug cartel country. The cartels run every town. Please pray for our safety, too!”
_________________________

Father, thank You for Sheri’s faith that challenges me to have more faith. Thank You that I know You can do exceedingly, abundantly beyond.

Friends, will you join me in praying for Sheri and believing God for miracles?

For more info about Sheri and her Faithwind 4 Kids ministry click here.

Sheri will teach the workshop, “Writing to a Child’s Heart,” at the May 15-18 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. You’ll learn the basics of writing for children and preteens, how to determine your audience’s age, and how to develop characters and plots, as time allows.

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Brian E. Kushner / stock.adobe.com

Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow yesterday morning. Good news! Spring is on the way. Well, it is, but more than likely not as quickly as we hope or Punxsutawney Phil predicts. Sadly, he doesn’t have a strong track record of being accurate.

Christians called to “Write His Answer” also are likely to have to wait far longer than we would like for the acceptance of our manuscripts and to see our book(s) in print. More often than not we will receive the dreaded rejection slip or no response at all.

But stop and consider what’s most important. Is it getting our name in print, especially on the cover of a book, or the journey of how we get there? Are our lives, not just our words, bearing fruit?

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Bearing Fruit

A Bible Study Based on John 15:1-5; Colossians 2:7; Galatians 5:22-23; Jeremiah 17:7-8

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus . . .
Hebrews 12:2 NIV

 

LOVE – He loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20 NIV).

  • Do I love my readers?
  • Is love my motivating force?
  • How much of myself do I give them?
  • What about loving my editors, especially the ones who reject my manuscript?
  • Loving people who make demands on my time, who take me from my work?

JOYFor the joy set before him [Jesus] endured the cross (Heb. 12:2 NIV).

  • Is my joy dependent on acceptances, praise, success?
  • Do I rejoice in taking up my cross (Mk. 8:34-35), or look for easier ways to serve the Lord?

PEACE –  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (Jn. 14:27 NIV).
We never see Jesus uptight even when demands on him were so great that “he couldn’t even find time to eat” (Mk. 3:20 TLB). See also Colossians 3:15.

  • Do I have his peace when I’m interrupted?
  • When I’m facing a deadline or blank computer screen?
  • When doors do not open for my work?

PATIENCEThink about his patience as sinful men did such terrible things to him (Heb. 12:3 TLB); his patience on the night he was betrayed when even his disciples  did not yet understand who he was (see Jn. 14:4-11).

  • Am I learning to wait patiently on the Lord?
  • How patient am I with editors, family members, myself?

KINDNESSBecause of his kindness you have been saved (Eph. 2:8 TLB).

  • Do people (editors, family, friends) see Christ in me?
  • Am I gracious?

GOODNESSHe went around doing good  (Acts 10:38 TLB).
Greek – agathos describes that which “being good in its character . . . is beneficial in its effect.”*

  • Is my writing benefiting my readers?
  • How can I “do good” with my writing?

FAITHFULNESS – He has enriched us, gifted us, strengthened us, called us, and is faithful (see 1 Cor. 1:5-9).

  • Am I being faithful to him?
  • Am I using the gifts he has given me?

GENTLENESSI am gentle and humble” (Mt. 11:29 TLB).
Greek – meekness, prautes: closely linked with humility, a fruit of power not weakness,not fighting against God, the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest.*

  • Have I argued with the Lord lately?
  • Am I on an ego trip?

SELF CONTROL – Jesus responded. He did not react. He was always in control of his feelings, words, actions (see Mk. 3).

  • How much self-control did I exercise the last time something or someone irritated me?
  • What about my self-discipline?
  • Do I daily relinquish control of my life to the Lord?

*From Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.

Examine and test and evaluate your own selves
to see whether you are holding to your faith
and showing the proper fruits of it.

2 Corinthians 13:5 AMP

TCC ad 2019

Online registration is open for the Colorado conference
http://colorado.writehisanswer.com

About half of the faculty is in place for the Philly conference
Registration will open April 1
http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com

 

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Tomorrow we remember how Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the crowds cheered, “Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Yet less than a week later they shouted “Crucify him!”

Jesus entering Jerusalem

None of this caught Jesus by surprise. Indeed, we’re told in Hebrews 12:2 (TLB) that “He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterwards.”

Have you stopped to consider that you are the reason for His joy?

Years ago my pastor’s wife told me that if I was the only person on this earth, Jesus still would have come and died just for me.

We know that He is coming again but that He tarries because He does not want even one to be lost. And so He is calling you, He is calling me, to “Get His Word Out.”

An outline of this message – really a Bible study that I’ve given several times as a keynote – is available online. I hope you’ll download it and make time to prayerfully consider the passages.

This week as you focus on Jesus’ passion, ask Him how He wants to use you to share His love with those who do not yet know He loved them enough to go to the cross.

blessed

“Blessed is He
who comes in the name of the Lord!”
The crowd cheered and sang praises.
They waved palm branches
and threw their cloaks before Him.
But Jesus was solemn as He traveled that road –
that road to the cross.

As God incarnate He knew all that was to come.
He saw not just His own death on the cross,
but the persecution of His followers
and the destruction of Jerusalem.
He saw nation rising against nation –
the madness of yet-to-be-born rulers.
And Jesus wept.

He would be wounded and bruised for our sins,
chastised that we might have peace,
lashed that we might be healed;
yet few would accept His gift of life.
The darkness of evil would continue to reign,
but the light of His love
would not be extinguished.

Entrusted to us,
His light will grow brighter.
A cloud of witnesses are cheering us on,
to daily take up our own cross
and follow Him closely.
Blessed is He who is coming – again!

Marlene Bagnull

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Reblogged with permission. Yes, we MUST pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all her people.

With President’s historic yet controversial decision on Jerusalem, Evangelical leaders call Christians around the world to pray for the peace of Jerusalem as never before. [Here’s the statement we just released from the Alliance For The Peace of Jerusalem.]

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Contrasts

Thanksgiving has again ushered in
the Christmas season.
I am sobered
not so much by the calories I consumed
or the prices in the mall
(although both are too high)
but by the contrasts I see.

There is plenty and want,
joy and grief,
love and hatred,
hope and despair,
the real and the artificial.

Father, please help me to see You
and to share Your love.
Move me to give as Your Son gave
when He willingly went
from the manger to the Cross.

Let there be a difference in me
that is visible and credible—
that points others to Jesus Christ,
who came and is coming again!

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A Thanksgiving Hymn

Come, All Christians

Marlene Bagnull
To the tune
“Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”

Come all Christians join in song
Praise our God the whole day long
Not just on Thanksgiving eve
But throughout eternity
Thank You God for all You’ve done
For Your Spirit and Your Son
And Your Word that points the way
To bear fruit for You each day

Thank You for this land we love
For Your watch care from above
For countless ways that You have blessed
Giv’n Your strength when we are stressed
Help us never to forget
That in You our needs are met
Change our hearts, our faith renew
Help us serve and honor You

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Christmas peace

It’s been over 35 years since the traumatic Christmas Eve I wrote about below. Thank You, Father, for bringing Your peace to these strained relationships and for the assurance that my mother and stepfather are now home with You. Please bring Your peace – Your shalom – to families in conflict. Restore estranged relationships and help us to love others as You love us.

~ * ~ * ~

How fast the year has flown, I reflected as I took the photographs off the mantle to decorate it for Christmas. A charred mark on the paneling behind one of the photos instantly reminded of a Christmas when our home had been anything but peaceful.

My mother and stepfather were visiting. The relationship was strained, but we had been trying to keep the peace. On Christmas Eve the tension erupted into a bitter argument. The smell of burning wood stopped me from saying things I would have later regretted. A candle had tipped over on the mantle causing the paneling right near the thermostat to smolder. Trembling with fear of what might have been, I soaked the wall with water and later hid the damage with a photo. The damage in the relationship with my parents was not so easily hid.

Painful memories have a way of refusing to stay camouflaged. At Christmas we are forced to face the fact that all is not always “calm” and “bright” in our relationships with a brother or a sister, a parent or a child, an in-law or cousin. This season of joy can turn into one of misery as we have no choice but to spend time with people who go out of their way to avoid us the rest of the year.

When our homes are filled with conflict, what can we do to have “peace on earth, good will to men”?

1. Keep our eyes on the One whose birth we celebrate. The Gospel of John opens with the poignant words: “His life is the light that shines through the darkness–and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John l:5 TLB). The reality of that first Christmas was not just the angels’ song, but Herod’s decree that every baby boy two years old and under be slaughtered (see Matthew 2:16). The shadow of the cross was already hanging over the Holy Family as they fled to Egypt.

Jesus never promised us problem-free relationships, but He has promised to give us the wisdom to know how to love those who may be anything but lovable. Difficult relationships do not have to spoil the joy of Christmas if we follow Jesus’ example and respond with love and forgiveness.

2. Try not to put unrealistic demands on ourselves. Christmas Eve I typically am still racing to complete my “to-do” list and end up too tired to enjoy Christmas much less to cope with difficult family members. We need to learn when to make a good night’s sleep a priority so that we’re able to handle added emotional pressures.

3. Avoid having unrealistic expectations of others. It is unlikely that people who have been less than pleasant throughout the year will suddenly become nice just because it is Christmas. Yes, I believe God works miracles, but it is just as great a miracle to learn not to set ourselves up to be hurt through our unrealistic expectations.

I cannot remove that charred area of paneling without replacing the entire wall, but it can serve as a reminder that if I want peace in my family, it must begin with me. Truly, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Cor. 5:19 NIV). Because Christ came, we can be reconciled to one another.
___________

The above article was first published in the December 1986 issue of Decision. It has been reprinted by Our Family, Messenger of St. Anthony, Christian Standard, Sunday Digest, Family Forum, The Gem, and ASSISTnews.net.


To encourage you to write about a God who is real,
who is reachable, and who changes lives
CDs of two workshops I taught this spring at ECPA.

Only $6 each – including handouts!
Click here to order securely online. (Scroll down to #8 & #9.)

#8 CD – Writing Articles that Touch Lives
If we hope to touch lives through the articles we write, we need to know the Lord, know what His Word says and means, know ourselves, and know our audience. Practical pointers for writing powerful, life-changing articles. You’ll discover the Habakkuk 2:2 blueprint to effectively “Write His Answer” and learn how to pass the “So what?” test.

#9 CD – Hook ’em from the Get-Go; Hold ’em to the End
With other 1,000 sales to Christians periodicals, Marlene has developed a checklist to help you create, rewrite, and edit your articles so that you can be certain you’ll hook ’em from the get-go and hold ’em to the end. You’ll learn how to capture and how your reader’s attention and how to use a checklist to polish your articles until they shine.
 
Hot-off-the press!
The Christian Writers Market Guide 2017
Includes “Topics and Types” indexes
to help you find markets for your articles.
Retail – $22.99
Special price – $17.99
Click here to order securely online.

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christmas-gifts
Thanks to an unexpected home improvement – we discovered a leak in our bathroom and spent two weeks with contractors coming and going – I’m far from ready for Christmas even though I’ve had 356 days to prepare. What can we do if our doing is way past what needs to be done?

  • In the midst of the rush to get caught up choose not to miss reflecting daily on the miracle of the Word becoming flesh (John 1:14).
  • If you’ve not yet mailed your Christmas cards (I haven’t!), instead of just signing your name to a store-bought Christmas card, why not enclose a letter? Family and friends you rarely see will appreciate an update even though it’s a copy of a mass-produced letter. But more than just the “news,” ask Father how you can encourage them through sharing something He has taught you this year. Choose to be real.
  • Write a Christmas poem or story and post it on your blog.
  • Post Scripture promises to your social media pages.
  • Write a Letter to the Editor to address efforts to take Christ out of Christmas. Write an intelligent, well-informed response and avoid preaching.
  • Give books by your favorite authors to family and friends.
  • Give yourself the gift of Tyndale’s The One Year Study Bible.
  • cwmg-2017Another must-have gift for yourself – the hot-off-the-press Christian Writers MarketGuide 2017. I just received two boxes of the newly designed and much easier to use guide. Thanks, Steve Laube and Lin Johnson for your work on this needed resource. It retails for $22.99 but is available through the Write His Answer Ministries bookstore for only $17.99 plus $4.00 shipping. There is NO charge for shipping if your order for additional titles from the WHAM bookstore is $35 or more. Click here to order.
  • Plan now to make 2017 the year of growing your writing skills by saving May 17-20 for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference or July 26-29 for the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. I’m praising God for how both conferences are coming together. Be watching for an update on the websites by the end of the year. Why not drop a hint that a conference would make a wonderful Christmas gift?pc-2017-cwcs

Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son. Thank You for the promise that “His life is the light that shines through the darkness – and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:5 TLB). Help us to be bearers of His light through the words we write and lives we live.

New WHA cover
My gift to you: You’ll find several free chapters from Write His Answer, now in print 25 years, at http://bit.ly/2h1qgs2.

“This book changed the way I write. I plan to read it again.”  ~ Danni Andrew

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