Moving to Virginia

People ask me all the time: “why did you move to Virginia? ” Seaford, Virginia: not the most metro, hipster, saving-the-world, hip place to be. There’s more cars than people and less trees than roads. The constant humidity is similar to living your life inside a sauna and everybody has carpets and air conditioning. Allergies are more common than not and people don’t take clocks seriously. It’s not limited to any one group of people. When people say meet at 5, it’s 5:30. And this is definitely true when shopping: people do not make haste. All the cashiers and people standing in line have all the time in the world.

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So why would a mid-twenties college graduate, outdoorsy, activist, artistic, northerner move to the tiny town of Seaford, Virginia? And the answer, my friends, (drum roll please)

 

is Jesus.

What does that even mean?

As somebody with a strong Southern accent might say, hang on naya. We’re gittin there.

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Once upon a time…

I was living on an island in Maine eating local food from the Portland Co-op, gardening, riding the ferry to and from work every day and riding around the island on my bicycle. And I just wunt satisfied (another Virginia-ism). I wunt fulfilled. I had a couple friends but they weren’t all that close. [***Except N <3***] I had a couple of jobs but they were hellish (#nannywars). I had done a couple diets and was back to square one. I had dated a couple guys which both ended quickly (thank God 😉 ). I had a head full of sparking thoughts. And then the spark found the kindling: Jesus. I needed … to be closer to Jesus…!

But Jesus is dead. How can you be closer to someone dead?

So I started to attend church again. And I craved being around Christians. And I met a couple solid* Christians on the tiny island Baptist Church named Jack and Gerri.

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*When I say “solid” I mean bold. Bold about their beliefs. And willing to stand for them. And live by them. Practice them. And preach them!

And Jack & Gerri invited me over to their big, beautiful house. && I got to know ’em. Jack told me about the business he started. I walked their dog. We ate ice cream. I met their friends.  My new Baptist friends were always having missionaries come and stay with them. They surrounded themselves with peaceful, humble people who knew so much about history, the bible, and current events.

Jack gave me a book full of knowledge. Just what I wanted. I hunted knowledge like a hungry animal hunting their prey. I couldn’t get enough of it. Knowledge about Jesus and who He was.

I need to be around more people like this, like Jesus.

And then I heard a voice.

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Velvet, you must go to Virginia.

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It’s weird, I know. But I couldn’t ignore or deny it. And it isn’t totally out of the blue. I have family in Virginia. My pen-pal/ favorite cousin lives in Virginia. We’ve been faraway friends for life and have grown very close in the last couple of years.

After hearing the Voice, I visited Virginia for six weeks and stayed with my cousin in her apartment. It was an experience. We shared her bedroom for ~5 weeks. Her bed. She shared her bed with me for five weeks! #goodfriend ❤

She was always surrounded by people. Boyfriend, friends, neighbors, people she worked with and for. And every time I felt …. so …. loved by everyone I met. People were different than in Maine. They smiled and waved and said “how do you do?”. They helped each other out and were joyful and successful and prioritized their families. And she talked about Jesus all da time. Nonchalantly in conversation. Nobody did this up North.

I had much to learn.

I met several families that every member was in love with Jesus and loved each other. I didn’t think families like these existed. But truly every family has baggage and nobody is perfect. And when your situation has hit rock bottom, everything else is glorified. But there are better and worse ways of doing things & handling drama and issues; and I liked what I saw. It was different to me and I could benefit from the newness. I was seeing Jesus.

&& I returned home in mid-December, and left my precious bicycle in VA because I knew I was going back ~*~

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Mt. Monadnock in the winter; Jaffrey, NH

At home

I was contemplating my next move for about 3 weeks…

when my Great Aunt Patsy Sours passed away. Her funeral was in Virginia in January. I was going back sooner than I thought! 

At the funeral procession, a friend I had met when staying with my cousin offered me a job to live and work for her family, take care of their grandmother. I would be in Virginia, in the home of strong Christians, and I would see how their family lived, walked, worked together and were mirrors for Jesus all throughout.

After much contemplation, it became loud and c l e a r that this job was exactly where I needed to be.

It became clear that this situation was exactly what I needed at the time in my life and the lives of the family I was moving in with.

It became clear that this family and I couldn’t have ever matched ourselves together.

The Voice was loud and clear.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

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A season to give for others.

To be a loving, forgiving, active, dependable, reliable family member.

A season to study, to teach, to become involved in a large community where people keep each other accountable.

To have a church, a bible study group, an additional weekly bible study.

A season to love like Jesus did: love people He didn’t know and wasn’t related to, but forgave them for their human sins and mistakes and showed them the love He wished to see.

I moved to Virginia to be in the light.

Where it’s brighter, hotter, less cold in so many ways; and where joy and love can be vibrant inside me and shine out to others.

I moved to Virginia to experience living in a Christian home with fellow Christ followers.

And to undo so many habits that were ingrained in me from my family life.

And so much more. These are surface level changes I was going through. And there are so many more to come. 11 months in Virginia so far. Not sure how many more.

It’s been an adventure. I love it. God has blessed me tremendously and continues to do so.

Have you ever felt called to a place?!

xoV

 

 

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The Easy Thing To Do

The message of this post is that it’s easy to hate others and it’s easy to hate ourselves.

I’m not here to judge you.

I’m here to love you.

It’s not always the easy thing to do, is it?

As brothers and sisters on this planet, it is our job to keep each other accountable. Some of us have different ways of doing that. For some, judging and mocking and feeling proud when we are ahead of others is how we spur one another on in “love”. I know I have cackled maniacally when people around me stumbled, and I was a bit smug that I wasn’t the one stumbling. Though it’s funny how God has a way of reminding us that we are no more important than anyone else on this planet. Sometimes His ways are more uncomfortable than others.

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But the point is this: we are here to intercede on our brothers and sisters behalf; not criticize.

When someone is doing something wrong, or clearly needs help growing in a certain area, and we happen to have a better way of doing it, we should teach them.

“God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede

-Oswald Chambers-

The easy thing to do is hate. To judge, sneer, mock, laugh, be proud, be self-absorbed.

That is too doggone easy.

The easy thing is to compare ourselves to others and feel as though we are “winning” if we aren’t as clumsy, gluttonous, obsessive, non-confrontational, ballistic, attention-seeking or rude as the people around us.

The easy thing to do is to cut people off. To decide it’s easier to brush off hard conversations, “deal” with things later, stop talking to someone instead of working things out. Run away and burn the bridge. The easy thing to do is to just build a new bridge.

Hating others is easy

Why does it seem easier to run, hide, and hate? Keyword “seem” here. Since really, avoiding loving people in the first place makes things 10x harder in the end. It’s a hard lesson to learn and sadly, some people never learn it! I know people in their 80s who still can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to looking past the offensive person or situation and seeing it as a test from God; an opportunity to grow and do the right thing. An opportunity to shed light in the darkness and grow something new.

When people offend us, criticize us, mock us, laugh at us, treat us badly, hurt us, hate us, and reject us, we should simply: respond in love. At first, it’s hard.

Forget hard. It’s ridiculous. It’s extremely difficult. Seemingly pointless. You may think “The other person doesn’t deserve it. They can keep screwing up and I’m not going to help them because they deserve to suffer.”

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Which, they just might deserve that. But that isn’t for you to decide. It is not our job to criticize.

C r i t i c i z i n g   i s   e a s y .

It’s a cop-out.

It’s the automatic, child-like desire of the human heart to hurt people back when they hurt us first.

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But it isn’t what Jesus intended for us. That’s why Jesus died for our sin; so we will be saved from our meager selves and be able to shine His divine light and live according to His Holy Spirit; not our own. Not our own sad, selfish, cackling, childish, hateful, struggling selves.

It’s not easy to look past others’ faults and love them.

And not because they first love us.

But because showing others love that isn’t from ourselves is a testimony to the love that God has for us.

It’s also easy to hate ourselves.

Besides criticizing other people whether they are failing, we also criticize ourselves when people are doing better than us! When others are more successful in whatever area we are striving to be successful in, we let others successes, blessings, and happiness kill our joy.

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This is coming from Satan.

Isn’t it awful?

Shouldn’t we be able to celebrate others happiness’s and riches and not compare them to our own and wish we had it better?

Being dissatisfied with what we have is poison.

Comparing our worth to others is poison.

Judging and criticizing others is poison.

Yet it’s where our hearts naturally go. It’s the natural response.

But wait

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Do you wish to break away from these responses and rise above yourself to a love and satisfaction that can only come from a source that’s bigger than you?

Do you wish to grow from a childlike response to a mature response?

Do you wish to be satisfied in who you are no matter who you stand among?

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He makes us anew and loves us just as we are.

Comment with questions, responses, stories.

xoV

family

It was 7:00 am and the sun hadn’t risen from behind the trees yet. The air felt damp and as if  a cloud had recently departed. My feet took one step after the other as my legs, arms, shoulders, back and lungs started to wake up. I breathed in deeply and said hello to the man walking his dog on the opposite side of the road. I’d see him again one block and three hundred ideas later and we might gather a little more about who we each are from a distance. Only if we were in the same vicinity day after day would we really see the depths of who we each are, what makes us tick, and what our eating habits are.

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That’s what families do. You wake up every day and see the same faces and bodies dance around in similar patterns. In and out of the kitchen boiling water and frying eggs and swiffering the floor. You see a sister through a window out in the yard picking the dead off of pants, gathering tomatoes and searchingly looking up at the sky as a book lay gently open on her lap. You see a brother on the opposite side of the counter-top, eating an impromptu luncheon at 2:00 in the afternoon with his fingers, and licking the crumbs off of his thumbs. A mother drops a glass jar on the kitchen floor and smiles matter-of-factly as she hunts for the broom.

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We do things out of love for each other. We give each other time to think through what we’re saying and don’t rush each other. We talk openly about plans, meetings, dates, gatherings, aspirations and try to do what we can to please and help each other. When trouble faces us we are not quick to blame each other, but we graciously inquire as to what happened, how it happened and how better we can do things next time.

We teach each other and learn from each other at all ages. Some of the smallest children can be some of the best teachers. Lord knows we need faith like a child. And that kids say the darnedest things! Combine these two qualities and you’ve got a young, wise comedian in your midst. A five year old thinker who innocently challenges what you think you know; who sucks in any and all information around him/her like a starving sponge and plays it back like a recorder at any later time or date. So don’t go getting angry at your child for repeating things you’ve blasphemed in their presence! They heard it from you, after all.

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And my, oh my, this applies to all family members; not just cute children. We are all mirrors of each other. Mirrors and teachers. And like a mirror, all qualities are revealed in the looking glass. We must always be careful to emit our most fruitful qualities so we aren’t unpleasantly surprised by our own bad karmas; which we all have!

Humans are not perfect: we will all wrong each other at times. And when we do, uncomfortable conversations will follow. Or feelings of avoidance. Or actual avoidance. And when this is the case, all operations must cease until the bad feelings are ironed out. That’s what families do. They stay on the same page. They communicate. They collaborate. And when a family binds together, their force is so strong that nothing could break them.

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Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents and the like are such gifts to us. Such intimate relationships we are born with are often taken for granted but we must NOT take them for granted. Knowing the ins and outs of our family members’ lives is such a unique and peculiar insight to another human being. We keep each other accountable. We empathize and sympathize with each other. We know how to help each other. We know how to gift each other. We can reach out to one another when we need help. We can spend time with each other and enjoy it. We understand each other and don’t have a choice. We know each other.

Family is such a complex concept. People we love without condition; no matter if they hurt us, wrong us, frustrate us, shock us, offend us, walk on us. These are people we protect and stand up for and tell the hard truths to. People whose actions we keep accountable. People we know and love and feel a pang in our hearts for when they hurt. People we think about, love and miss from afar and can pick up right where we leave off.

Family says:

I love you as you are, and nothing you can do will keep me from that ❤

I miss you, and my doors are open for you whenever you return ❤

Family is:

Not confined to blood relatives ❤

Always somewhat broken ❤

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Call your family and tell them how much you love them. Even if it’s hard. Even if there’s hurt. Even when it seems easier to distance yourself. Your family will always be yours… always

xoV

Why I’m Glad I Got Sick

The Chest Cold Chronicles Pt. 1

Today marks day eight of cold strain 134. I’ve been quarantined to my room for eight days and couldn’t eat dairy (besides a little butter in my coffee) #missyoukefir #missyouparmesan.

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Close-up of my bulletproof coffee (AKA coffee blended with butter & coconut oil= ❤ ❤ <3) in my favorite mug!

I’ve gone through eight boxes of tissues (no thanks to no dairy! 😛 ), eight buckets of chicken soup with eighty pounds of kimchi and garlic in it, and wayyy too much sauerkraut mixed with horseradish (this was a mistake).

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A sample breakfast delivered to me! The bowl of what looks like brown rice is actually kraut & horseradish. >_<

Although I was wiped out from walking downstairs and back up one time, I did enjoy having my roommates bring me my meals in bed! Another  examples of my lovely meals:

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Aren’t they the best?

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Part II: More bulletproof coffee & some of the sweetest fresh-picked strawberries 🙂

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By day four they were trying to make me laugh just to expedite the phlegm-hacking process.Gotta clear out the ol’ sinuses amirite — hence the horseradish *shudder*.

Besides all of the lovely food stuffs brought to me three times a day (not counting mugs of ginger tea with lemon & honey, cups of green juice, and gallons of filtered water), I was also getting treated with steam baths 2x a day and oil diffusions.

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Teach me how to Steam bath:

Boil one pot of water and place it on a tray with a towel separating the pot from the tray.

Add a few drops of eucalyptus, peppermint or other essential oils to the pot.

Cover yo head with a towel and lean down to the pot of oily steam. Inhale for 10 minutes.

Besides steam baths, I also covered my chest, neck and glands leading to my ears in coconut oil with a few drops of peppermint  oil to open things up and get the mucus moving.

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When I wasn’t inhaling or topically applying peppermint oil, it was being diffused in my room. Buy oils and a diffuser from my favorite company here!

Sometimes I put lavender oil around my ears and temples to relax and soothe.

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Aside from good foods and oils, I was taking extra supplements in addition to my regulars (magnesium & vitex… I will do a post on vitex soon). What I took was:

1,000 mg Vitamin C with two meals a day

250 mg glutathione twice a day

1330 mg curcumin once a day

200 mg Niacin three times a day

Curcumin is supposed to help fight bronchial inflammation.

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Niacin is good for a whole range of things but is mainly marketed for raising good cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol. The truth is, there are endless benefits to taking Niacin. The reason I take it is because it helps relieve anxiety and depression, and also aids in sleep.

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, has only one side effect: it produces a “niacin flush” that looks and feels similar to a sunburn and lasts between 15 minutes and an hour depending on the amount you took, what you ate/drank prior to taking it, and how many histamines are in your body. Here’s a picture of what I looked like with a flush a few days ago:

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My arms were very splotchy and my chest, neck and face were on fire!

I’m sure I’ll do another post on niacin in the future, but if you’re curious about taking this vitamin, check out Dr. Abram Hoffer’s site.

Just be careful to discern what is true and what’s a lie from big pharma. 🙂

To top the post off: Here’s why I’m glad I got sick (maybe the real reason you are here 😛 )

*to practice accepting help and service from others ❤

*to learn more about health! 🙂

*to have time to pray for others ❤

*to practice resting and being patient! 🙂

*to practice expressing love and appreciation to those who do so much for me! ❤

*to reflect on the direction my life has gone in the last few months 🙂

*to learn to trust God and surrender doing what I love so I can regain strength and grow even stronger ❤

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Backyard chillen after 5 days quarantine. #lookingood #eligible #singlenessisreal

See guys? Next time you’re sick, remember this:

Being sick isn’t too bad. We can learn a lot when we’re sick, whether we want/intend to or not!

Love you all ❤

V

With Kids, It’s the Little Things

I was going to name this post “Wears your paddle… Sure does” when I realized that the riddle that those words are attributed to only works in person. Not when read in text. The riddle is as follows:

Two guys are canoeing through a desert. One of them says:
“Where’s your paddle…”
The other responds “Sure does.”

What does it mean?

Except the real riddle says “wears” not “where” apostrophe “s”. Where the spelling is, of course, not obvious to the listener. So.

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Good riddle. Bad for online. But plz go tell your friends & family. It’s a show stoppah,for shore. hehe 😉 anyway

The 8 yo I nanny loves riddles. He knows quite a lot of them. In the first week that I was nannying for these kids, I told H the Paddle riddle and he was befuddled. He and his sister (11 yo) both. In fact, they were fuzzed, flustered and heh’d for the entire day. Weekend, even. Since I shared the riddle at the end of a week. So what’d they do? Asked dad of course. Dang.

They came back knowing the riddle. They told me they understood. Oh well, they were bound to figure it out sooner or later. And I’m glad they did. Because now we have a super inside joke about the riddle that only the three of us can understand. And when other friends and family are around, they can’t piece anything together related to any riddle.

I’ll respond to something saying “Sure is!” And they’ll respond to me saying “Sure does!” in reference to the riddle.

As little as it may seem, this brightens my day; every time. Even after the constant fights, the hitting wars, the throwing objects across the room, the blood-curdling screams… it turns out that the little things really do provide that spark of joy that brings a smile and clears the mind; providing a clean slate for a moment.

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Moments like these are a reminder of the good things in life. And they provide the hope that teaches us that life goes on, and things get better~

Sure does. ❤

Does Having Kids Scare You? Christmas in July version

All this hot July weather gets me thinking of cold. So let’s talk about snow a minute.

Living in the north east means experiencing some serious winters. The winter tends to come on slowly and sheepishly before she releases her mighty pillage of frosted flakes onto every windshield, sidewalk and Weber grill in sight.

Winter begins with a freak storm in late October or early November and then nothing for a while. Things start to cool down at night in November and slowly get colder in the daytime in December but there isn’t much snow. By Christmas time, residents are usually kinda peeved at the entire season; nobody wants cold weather without snow (or Christmas).

By January it’s bitter cold. It snows lightly. Everyone thinks: although it’s cold, it’s a pretty mild winter!! But they’ve spoken too soon. Yes, every year the same pattern of events unfolds; and by February, the snow-Kracken is released. “Let it Snow” is the theme song of the month of New England February’s when constant storms unravel from above and stack snowy blankets all over the towns of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York at worst. This past winter Boston broke the all-time record for snowfall in the city since 1919. Check out some Boston Storm Sample Coverage here.

So what do people do on wintry days in New England (AKA half the year)? Plan for the warm season of course! That’s right. I personally spent months this past winter studying hard to obtain my Guide’s License to be a registered Sea Kayak instructor. Wind, weather, gear, and safety procedures were among the top things I studied while meditating on the idea of getting paid to paddle along the beautiful coast.

It was mid-April when I realized I wouldn’t be a guide this summer. I couldn’t. I would be… a nanny. Quite a different occupation, really. My goal went from relaxing with a bunch of yupps on the crystal waters, a dab of sunblock on my nose, to cleaning up crumbs and doing my best to ignore armpit-farts all day. If you’d told me that’s what I’d be doing a few years ago, I’d have laughed (classic but valid truth).

Truth is, the idea of having kids scared me ever since I’d conceived it (no pun intended). I used to believe that I would never be a good mother since I had a bad relationship with my mom and didn’t think she did her job well. I believed that there wasn’t another chance for me to become a good mother and that it was pointless to try. If I were to raise a kid, he or she would become a little monster and I would have to live with that fact physically for 18 years and mentally forever. It was more simple to throw out the idea completely.

I used to believe that I didn’t relate well to kids and that I never would. I taught swim lessons for five years and hated it for a long time because I simply did not know how to talk to kids.

And then something stirred inside of me — not a baby, thank God. But a feeling of interruption. A voice telling me that I wasn’t reaching far enough. That I was settling for a false truth; a boundary that was blocking all of my potential. A chance to extend greater than I once thought possible. A barrier forever unbounded, with remarkable, unending faith and promise that anything is possible. This poem describes what I was feeling:

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
attributed – sir francis drake -1577

…Why shoot for the ceiling when you can shoot for the treetops?

……Why shoot for the tree tops when you can shoot for the stars?

………Why shoot for the stars when you can shoot for the moon?

Does having kids scare you? Then let it scare you no longer. Do you come from a troubled background and believe you won’t be a good parent? You will  be the best. Do you not know how to relate to kids?

It takes practice. Parenting is an art.

It takes a whole lotta time and a whole lotta heart.

But the miracle revealed at the end of the day

is more than any sea kayak guide can say.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Having kids is scary, but so worth it. I can’t wait to have kids of my own. And I’m extremely thankful that this nannying job came around to prepare me to become a good mom.

Are you/were you scared of having kids? Drop a comment in the section below!

Thanks for stopping by!

Like/comment/+follow!

~*~