Monday, January 28, 2013

Be Purposeful

"Think about the things that are good and worthy of praise; think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.” (Philippians 4:8)

"The mind is a great battlefield. The Bible tells us that we have the mind of Christ because we have a personal relationship with Him, but we still have to allow or choose to "let" the mind of Christ be in control. Every day we are at war for the control of the mind. Who wins that war is up to us and the choices we make."  Think Right... Live Right, from Girlfriends in God - By Mary Southerland

I must admit there was a great battle going on in my mind recently. My enemy was doing a wonderful job of filling my head with bad thoughts. Thoughts like what kind of mother are you for missing your son on TV for what he considered to be his second greatest experience of his Navy career.

On the day of the most recent Presidential Inauguration, I was glued to my computer screen watching live feed of the ceremony anxiously waiting for a chance to have a glimpse of my son. As a member of the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard, he was a White House Cordon and would render honors to the President at the White House following his parade walk.

The President returned to the White House and there was no sighting of my son. I sent a text to my daughter-in-law with a sad face saying, "I don't think we are gonna see him."

She was much smarter than I as she kept watching. I had lost live feed momentarily and decided it was time to call it quits. I walked away from my desk and when I returned there was a text from my daughter-in-law that read, "I saw him!!!!! I saw him!!!!!!" This text was followed by more text messages and posts on Facebook from family members sharing how they had also seen him.

My son soon posted on his Facebook page, "Don't lie to me!! Who saw me?!?!"

NOT ME!!!!!!!!!

I will always regret missing my son live on TV, but when I look back at the extent of how I was punishing myself that evening I discover I was not thinking right. My enemy was filling my mind with bad thoughts. And I've learned that what is taking place in our mind will eventually come out and effect others. Trust me...I know my thoughts effected certain family members that day.

What was good and worthy of praise that afternoon? While I missed seeing my son, others did not.

Here is what my brother was able to share after capturing him on his TV...

That's my Sailor!

Shortly after, my sister shared a very brief video of the moment captured above. While I'm not sure how to upload this video, my son was also seen on NBC's Today Show at about 1:32 in this video: Today Show link

My pastor (Pastor Mike) asked the question during his sermon this past Sunday, "Do you function with a Biblical worldview?" He shared how God's Word should be at the foundation of everything we think and feel. He has given us everything we need to live a godly life. (2 Peter 1:3) But, are we living a godly life?

Pastor Mike said the words, "Be purposeful." God used those two words to bring me back to my one word, EMBRACE. (I love how He does that!)

The previous Sunday our Executive Pastor (Pastor Jay) spoke on how ALL scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). He ended his sermon by saying that because all scripture is God-breathed, we are to "Embrace ALL scripture."

The message I received from both of these fabulous pastors of mine: The more scripture we embrace, the more we will live scripture out in our life. So I was reminded to be purposeful in spending time in His Word and to surrender my mind to God.

As Mary Southerland wrote in the post I shared through a link earlier in this post, "When we choose to surrender the control of our mind to God, He will honor that choice and give us the strength and power to think right. And when we think right – we will live right."

So now that I'm thinking right and my enemy has lost control over my mind, to my brother and sister who made it possible for me to still see my son in his second greatest moment in the Navy, THANK YOU! You have given this mother a precious gift. I may have missed his moment of fame, but you made it possible for me to still have the moment through a picture and video...something I will forever treasure.

Friends, I share this story with you, along with previous stories, because it is in these moments of weakness that God will draw us closer to Him and remind us how desperately we need Him. As Mary DeMuth says in her book, Everything, "God breaks us for better things." 

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." - 2 Corinthians 12:9

Thursday, January 24, 2013

You Are Good Enough

I'm sitting in a room full of people...a gala event in support of our troops. It's a Red, White and Blue Ball! If there is ever a place I should feel as though I belong (I'm an Army wife and  Navy mom for goodness sake), this should be the place. But those unwanted, but familiar, thoughts sneak their way into my mind. You're not pretty enough. You're not outgoing enough. You're not good enough.

Oh how feeling this way hurts.

When I find myself in this familiar place all I want to do is run. My eyes are on the door and my mind is focused on ways to escape. I look to my husband with those eyes that says, "Please take me home."

How did I get to this place of always feeling I'm not good enough? How do we all get to this place? How do we get out of this place?

I entered this gala event with a renewed confidence, but left feeling shattered.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy..." John 10:10

He surely came and successfully killed and destroyed.

If these same thoughts occupy your mind, I wish I could be the one to walk up to you with a smiling face and embrace you with love. I wish I could say to you the words that begin replaying in my head that author Holley Gerth writes in her book, You're Already Amazing.

"You're not only amazing.
You're enough.
You're beautiful.
You're wanted.
You're chosen.
You're called.
You've got what it takes...not just to survive but to change the world."

There is more to the passage I shared above from John 10:10 and it's GOOD NEWS!

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Don't let that thief (Satan) steal your joy. Turn to the one who wants to give you life to the fullest.

I wish I could tell you that was exactly what I did the night of the gala, but I will always speak the truth here. And, the truth is I ran. You could not get me out of that room quick enough.

While I chose to run, I know God wanted to embrace me. His arms were open and waiting for me. I had a choice to either let Satan take residence in my mind, or to seek God. I wrestled with this choice for the next 24 hours, but during that time God was drawing me closer to Him.

You see, I was reminded of how only He can fill those empty places in my heart. I love how Mary DeMuth speaks to this in her book, Everything. (You must read this book!) "Trust that God is big enough to shoulder every single pain and burden and injury you've ever experienced. Surrender your heart, your life, your will to Him. Let Him have His healing way with you."

Seek God with all your heart my dear friends, and let Him heal you. Let His truth fill you.

And what is His truth? Remember those words from Psalm 139:14?

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." - Psalm 139:14

His works ARE wonderful!

These words from Holley bring me comfort and remind me that the moment I gave my life to Christ I became so much more than enough. "We are chosen, cherished, created women who have all we need to fulfill God's plans for our lives. He has made us just as he wants us to be. We have something to offer that no one else can bring...and the world is waiting."

You are loved with an unfailing love. You are so much more than enough!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Be a Carrier of Gratitude

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. ~ Psalm 118:24

I recently shared a post on giving thanks. While the post was written on Thanksgiving Day, I didn't have the opportunity to share until recently. At first I wasn't sure if sharing it made sense, but I felt God prompting me to press that overly intimidating "Publish" button. And ever since pressing that button, He seems to be amazingly guiding me to others who are sharing their heart on giving thanks.

The word coincidence keeps popping into my head; however, I don't believe what appears to be coincidences are coincidences at all.  Oh how I believe it's God doing what He does us little nuggets of His grace just when we need it most.

What little nuggets has He been giving me? His little nuggets seem to be overflowing lately, but when something is placed in front of me over and over again, He really catches my attention. And, it appears He wants to catch my attention on this matter of giving thanks.

The title of a post by Sharon Jaynes caught my attention, "Ingratitude is Contagious...Don't Be a Carrier." Read post here. I wouldn't classify myself as a carrier of ingratitude, but it reminds me of how our attitudes can greatly impact those we spend our time with.

Is it a coincidence or a little nugget from God that my boss handed to me a book by Jon Gordon called, The No Complaining Rule?  I laugh, as you could be saying to yourself that maybe my boss is trying to tell me to stop complaining.  Could be, but I really don't believe that. Honestly, he had two books and this is the one God prompted me to take.

On the front of this book it reads, "Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work." While I haven't even read the first page, I sense God may be leading me to a new discovery of the purpose He has in store for me at my office. BE A CARRIER OF GRATITUDE.

Is it a coincidence that I'm reading from the Book of Habakkuk (which by the way means Embrace) and it speaks to the very point of remaining grateful in all circumstances? "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior." ~ Habakkuk 3:17-18

In Joyce Meyer's Amplified Bible, she shares on this Book by saying let's declare, "God has given me this day. And He has decided to let me breathe another day, then I'm going to enjoy it."

When I continued my reading of Mary DeMuth's book, Everything, can you believe the chapter I was reading spoke to the very same piece of scripture from Habakkuk that I shared above? Coincidence? Oh how I know God is giving me nuggets of His amazing grace. And a message that is becoming clearer and clearer: BE A CARRIER OF GRATITUDE.

We have so many reasons to be grateful. Look around you...can you not find one reason? Look up my dear Matt Redman sings, I'm confident you will find 10,000 reasons.

"You're rich in love and You're slow to anger
Your name is great and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
10,000 reasons for my heart to find
Bless the Lord O my soul
O my soul
Worship his holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name"
Matt Redman, 10,000 Reasons

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" ~ Philippians 4:4

In the post by Sharon Jaynes that I shared earlier, she writes, "I am reminded of an old saying that stirs and stings: 'Gratitude turns what we have into enough'." She is right. That saying does stir and sting. Complaining leads to wanting more, but gratitude expresses that our God is enough. For all His goodness, I will keep on singing.

I declare our God is enough. I will be grateful for this day and rejoice. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Love God. Love Others.

I'm still a wee bit (okay, maybe more than a wee bit) struggling over the comparison game. But I'm trying to turn this struggle into something positive. So I ask myself, what is it that others are bringing to their blogs that I wish I was bringing to you here? I say I want you to find God's love for you and I really do. My heart tells me there is something missing as I write.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to catch up with my fabulous high school girlfriends. The evening was full of laughter as stories were shared from long ago. Eight of us gathered around the fire place on this cold evening and there was one thought I kept having. Am I embracing my relationship with each of these lovely girls, or do I linger at the surface with them? What about my relationship with others in my life?

These thoughts led me back to what I write I only giving you a surface level relationship? And if so, how do I go deeper with you? How do I share with you those thoughts that truly touch my heart? How do I share with you the extent of how God has changed this heart of mine? How do I encourage you to go to those places of your own heart with me?

There is one particular person of this group of high school friends that I embraced having the opportunity to go deeper with. The following morning she accompanied me to church and afterwards we made our way to Panera Bread for lunch. I found a quiet corner of the restaurant and proclaimed, "There is no one over here so we can really share the juicy stuff and not worry about what others may hear."

Three hours later...oh my, when you go deeper with someone, you walk away from your time together refreshed. Our hearts were opened and we simply shared from that place I think many of us are afraid to go to.

In this wonderful world of social media there are times when I witness criticism over what someone dares to share. I wonder, have we created a world where it's seen as wrong to share at the deeper levels? Is it wrong for me to open my heart in this social media world to people I don't even know?

I'm reminded of what God wants most from us. A deeper relationship. He has this same desire for us in our relationships with each other. He loves when we embrace community...when we embrace relationships.

What are we to learn from Jesus? To love God and love others.

"He requires only that our love be ardent for Him and our hearts be willing to love others in the same way. Simple as that." - Mary DeMuth

The above quote from Mary DeMuth is from her book, "Everything." (Oh how I'm loving this book!) She also write that "Jesus often calls us to risk. He asks us to be vulnerable, to be authentic, so others can see Him in and through us." 

So I challenge myself to go deeper in my relationship with God. And to be vulnerable and authentic in sharing my heart with you. I will take this risk in the hopes that you will see Him through me. As I learn to embrace who I am in Christ, I will embrace His call to simply love others.

Relationships can be scary. I know the fear of getting hurt can be great. That is why it's so important to put your love for God first. -- Love God. Love others. -- When those difficult relationships come, and they will come, God will show you how to still offer grace. As Mary DeMuth says, "He will sustain us, grow us, and keep us sure-footed."

A little side note on that fabulous conversation I had with my dear friend at Panera Bread. I'm hoping the young girls that ended up sitting in our so-called "quiet" area received a little gift from what I'm sure they overheard: the gift of knowing that God extends grace when we open our hearts and simply love. :)

Similar posts:
My One Word...EMBRACE
A God-sized Dream
I Have a Confession to Make
Back to the Basics

Monday, January 14, 2013

Giving Thanks

This post was sitting with my draft posts and as I read it again, I decided why let it continue to sit there even though I was unable to share on Thanksgiving day. :)


It's Thanksgiving morning. A beautiful and sunny morning here in Washington, DC.

I find myself struggling to find the words to share how I'm feeling at the moment. The two words that jump out at me are Perfect Peace.

I know our children are meant to grow up and start their own lives, but when our older son isn't home it always feels as though I'm not complete. To all be together again...Perfect Peace resides in my heart. I get a glimpse of why my own parents have the biggest smiles on their faces when all ten of their children are under the same roof.

As author Jeff Goins writes in his post today, "You can’t have thanks; you can only give it.Read his post here.

"In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I give thanks for a God who loves me unconditionally.

I give thanks for an amazing husband who every day brings a smile to my face.

I give thanks for being blessed with two boys that have grown in to such loving and caring individuals.

I give thanks for how God is working in each and every one of us...even those that don't believe. 
I can see God quietly speaking to their hearts.

I give thanks for togetherness. I will treasure this time my family is together.

I give thanks to the men and women who have served and currently serve our great country. 
You are our heroes. 

 I give thanks to the families of our heroes. The sacrifices you make will not be forgotten.

I give thanks for all of you who join me here. 
My hope is always that you find God's love for you when you stop by.

While Thanksgiving is now over, lets not wait until the next Thanksgiving to give thanks. I would love for you to share what you are thankful for today. Pretty please!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

You Are Beautiful

I recently had the opportunity to feel a bit like Vivian Ward (aka Julia Roberts) in the scene from Pretty Woman where Edward (aka Richard Gere) takes her shopping. You know the scene - right? The one where she orders pizza and also proclaims, "Edward would love that tie!"

I'm not your typical female as I hate shopping. There is rarely a time I leave a shopping experience without being completely depressed. It's a dreadful experience in my opinion. But a new cocktail dress was needed for two upcoming events so off to shop I went. After stopping at multiple stores without success I made one last stop before giving up.

Oh my...this is what shopping should be like.

I was placed in a dressing room and was lavished with attention. I'd walk out with a new outfit and spin around as Vivian did. The salesperson would disappear and then return with accessories (and more outfits) to try different looks. It was GLORIOUS! I loved those oohs and aahs. I loved all the "you look marvelous" comments. I can't lie, I left that store with a huge SMILE on my face, and less money in my bank account of course.

I'm confident you would agree that we women crave to feel beautiful. Our tendency to lack confidence in our beauty leads us to crave hearing those words from another. We allow those moments of hearing those words to temporary fill us.

Here's the thing though...there is someone who wants to tell you how beautiful you are each and every moment of your day. We don't need to wait for the chance encounter of a Vivian Ward experience to feel beautiful. We don't need to wait on our hopes of hearing those oohs and aahs to believe in our beauty.

You are beautiful! These are the words God wants to tell you every time you open your heart to Him. He isn't looking to temporary fill you, He wants to completely fill you. He will completely fill you!

I reflect back on my experience and realize when I spun around in front of that mirror I was not focused on being the person God created me to be. I believed the clothes and accessories were what made me beautiful in what seemed like my thirty minutes of fame. I believed I needed to be someone different to be beautiful.

I'm not suggesting you can't enjoy an experience like this, but what I'm saying is don't wait on a moment like I had to claim your worth or beauty.

You are beautiful! Be your own kind of beautiful. A beauty that comes from God. You are "fearfully and wonderfully made" by Him.

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way." ~ Song of Solomon 4:7

Found through: Proverbs 31 Ministries[Orig. picture source: unfound]

Monday, January 7, 2013

My One Word...EMBRACE

Words "are not just lines and curves. They represent." "There's power in words. Beauty in words. Grace in Words." - My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word, By Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen

My One Word is EMBRACE!

This coming year I need to embrace God and His truth.  I need to embrace who I am in Christ.

I will admit there was a moment I doubted whether or not I heard God correctly when choosing this word.  But then I remembered the opposite of embrace is Let Go. God was telling me to embrace Him and let go of everything holding me back from embracing Him.

Embrace His truth...let go of the worldly lies I've allowed myself to believe.

Even though I have already chosen my word, I'm reading the book My One Word. In addition to choosing one word, the book says choose a verse to go with it.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made: your works are wonderful, I know that full well." - Psalm 139:13-14

Those words were first shared with me by a woman who has now become very dear to me.

Last year, about this same time, I opened up to my Pastor on my continual battles with an eating disorder.  One of the things he suggested was finding a mentor. Someone who would encourage spiritual growth, but also someone to be accountable to as I prayed for recovery from my disorder.

The first time I met with this mentor, and now dear friend, she shared Psalm 139:13-14 with me. She also shared this quote from Philip Yancey, "Grace means there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and nothing I can do to make God love me less.  It means that I, even I who deserve the opposite, am invited to take my place at the table in God's family."

The My One Word book also suggests when choosing your word, to consider what kind of person you most want to become. What are the characteristics of that person you wish to live?

I knew without a doubt I had heard God correctly on my one word. The characteristic I admire most of this dear friend of mine is how she embraces who she is in Christ. She embraces the truth that God created her and His works are wonderful.

My dear friend Michele, thank you for the light of Christ that shines through you. Thank you for your gentle reminders that God loves me. Thank you for being so much more than a mentor...but, a friend.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Christmas Wonder

Christmas has come to an end and the New Year is here. Good-byes were said to my son and his wife as they returned back to their military life. Those good-byes never get easier. Having my family together is a precious gift. I wish I had more photos to capture are moments together, but I know the memories will always be stored in my heart, which is more precious than a photo.

I was happy to see writer Jeff Goins share similar sentiments in one of his recent posts. He writes on how we have a few choices on what to do with wonder. Goins suggests we can either try to capture it, reproduce it or choose to enjoy it.

"We can try to capture it 
We can try to hold onto the beauty and the splendor, catching a piece of it with our gadgets and gizmos, even our memories and journals.
But in doing so, we cheapen the thing itself and distract ourselves from being present to the moment.
We can try to reproduce it

Don’t kid yourself: All your tweeting and Instagramming is not the same as watching a sunset. When we catalogue every single memory in photo albums, we’re missing out. We’re not remembering; we’re creating cheap facsimiles of true beauty.

Certainly, these things have their place, but we can’t deceive ourselves into thinking a Polaroid is nearly as good as the original. Can we?

We can enjoy it

Of course, it’s impossible to actually capture or reproduce wonder. The best way to appreciate beauty, I’ve found, is to simply say, “Thank you.” To God or nature or your next-door neighbor. To be grateful for this moment, even if it may be fleeting (sometimes, because of the fact).

The next time you’re having a moment — maybe seeing the world through a child’s eyes or smiling at the sight of your town covered in snow — I hope you resist the urge, at least for a moment, to try to capture and reproduce it for the world to see and instead simply enjoy the wonder." Read full post here.

For me, time with my family is a miraculous has a beauty beyond words. During those two weeks together I choose to enjoy each and every moment. I would stop by my older sons bedroom and stare at him sleeping in what is usually now an empty room. As we celebrated Christmas together I enjoyed watching the smiles as they exchanged gifts with each other. My heart was full of joy from simply having everyone under the same roof.

Thank you, God. I'm so grateful for the family you have given me and the wonder of time together.

My son said to me before he left that he was ready to return back to his home...he missed his house and bed. He seemed to have some guilt in telling me this, but as much as I hated to see him leave I responded by saying I completely understood. You see, I must admit I was also anxious to get back to the routine of my day.

The coming and goings of this older son of mine and the unknown of what the day would hold was not easy on this mother who thrives on planning her day. But I will take this kind of interruption to my routine...there isn't much I wouldn't do to have my family together.

A picture is still treasured. I realized how much so as my husband and I began the process of becoming a minimalist family. We started with one of the closets which happened to be one full of old photos.  As we came across old family photos our eyes lit up as the memories came flooding in.

I believe what Jeff Goins was telling us is there are times when we need to choose to enjoy the wonder of a moment. To be careful not to loose the moment in the midst of trying to capture or reproduce it.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

12 books that changed me in 2012

Last year was a year of reading for me.  I must admit I haven't always been a devoted reader, but after accidentally putting my son's iPod through the washer and then willingly giving up mine, my work out entertainment changed.  Instead of listening to music, I took up reading.  Washing that iPod turned out to be a blessing!

Author Alene Snodgrass writes in her post when sharing the 10 books that changed her, "Simply said, what you put in to your mind is crucial to who you will become!"

I couldn't agree more.

The books I'm going to share with you did change me.  I attribute most of my spiritual growth to these books.  To the authors of these books I owe my sincerest gratitude.

Here is my list from 2012, in no particular order:

1) Living on the Edge by Chip Ingram (this my friends is what lead me to surrendering my life to Christ)

2) A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

3) You're Already Amazing by Holley Gerth

4) A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

5) Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst

6) Wrecked by Jeff Goins (beware...this book will wreck you)

7) Kingdom Journeys by Seth Barnes (you can currently get on your Kindle for $2.99)

8) Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs (every married couple should read this book)

9) Graffiti by Alene Snodgrass (also currently on your Kindle for $2.99)

10) More Than Ordinary by Doug Sherman

11) What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst

And, last but certainly not least...the Bible.  I never thought I would be able to say this, but during 2012 I read the entire New Testament for the first time. If you want to read a book that will change your life, this is the one!  Simply pick it up and read.  If you're unsure where to begin, start with the Gospels and let God lead you from there.

Do you have any favorites? I'd love for you to share so I can add to my wish list.

Books I've started with for 2013...

1) Get One Word by Dan Britton, Jimmy Page and Jon Gordon

2) My One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen

If I haven't convinced you to join in on the One Word movement, these books will!  If you've picked a word for 2013...please do share!  My One Word is EMBRACE!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

God Loves You

"God Loves You.  I don't know when is the last time you heard that, but God Loves You."

Those words were said over and over as our Executive Pastor's wife spoke to a group of woman.

Her words spoke directly to my heart.  I couldn't help but to wonder how those words were speaking to others in that room.  Was there someone there that felt unworthy of His love? Was there someone there who truly hadn't heard those words before?

I know for me, I can never hear those words enough.  Too many times I let them slip from my mind and lose focus of that truth.

We were given a list of descriptive words and she asked us to pick one and then describe what that person might be like.  After going around the different tables in the room to share how each group described someone just from a few words, she shared that the descriptive words she provided were words that described her.

What she said next was important so don't skip over this...

"Those descriptions are not who we are.  And, we shouldn't use those words to define who others are.  For those who believe, we are children of God...we are princesses!"

Here was this woman who I think is simply amazing sharing details of her life that I had not previously known.  If I had known them before getting to know her heart, would I have felt differently about her?  What identity would I have placed on her?

We are way to quick to judge people and to place some type of identity on them before we ever have the opportunity to know their heart.  Why is that?  Do they somehow scare us and we find it easier to an excuse to why we don't need to take the time to get to know their heart? Could it be we are afraid to let them get to know our own heart?

The labels we put on others aren't always necessarily bad ones, but they are still labels.  Our identity should only be found in who we are in Christ.

As this fabulous woman speaking to us shared, "We are children of God...we are princesses!"

Let these words from Psalm 139:13-14 sink into your heart...

"For you created my inmost being: you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made: your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

Do you hear that? He created you, and His works are wonderful.  We need to believe that about ourselves and treat others with that same knowledge.  Believe this truth...His works are wonderful.

Let's move forward with this knowledge and for every person you may meet, look at them and say, "He created you.  His works are wonderful."

And, more importantly, believe this about yourself.  His works are wonderful!