Dec 30, 2012

2012, the year Surreal

Wow....it's just about over....my year Surreal!  I have known I wanted to write a post - I mean how could I let a year such as this one slip by without one last post, a last farewell to the most surreal year of my life?

But what to say....?

How to put into words all that this year held?

Such amazing, surreal highs! 

Blessings,
growth,
renewal,
leaps of faith,
growing intimacy with God,
precious baby boy,
deeper friendships,
family bonding and strengthening,
new "beyond words" home of more then we could imagine,
pigs,
and
lots of time.


And then some pretty surreal lows!

The loss of my dad,
the loss of my best friend's mom,
leaving our 'sweat and blood' home,
ambulance coming for our one month old,
loss after loss for members of our church family,
new 'diets' and thus relearning the simple acts of cooking and eating,
and
never enough time.

So I see, as I write this, that this post is not going where I thought it would.  As I listed out these highs and low I see that yes, the thing I will carry away with from this year Surreal is time.

I had thought I would recap the year - but I think I've exhausted that already.  I thought I'd touch on where I am at this point, physically, emotionally and spiritually - but since I'm turning 30 *gasp* in just over a month, I'm sure I will reflect then on those issues.  ;)   And I could delve into all that grief has taught me this past year...but this year wasn't summed up by grief.

No, this year Surreal, is summed up by time.

I've seen many sides to time this past year.

Nine months spent growing a baby.
From exciting news to devastating news in mere hours.
A one hour drive that changed my life forever.
Moments....mere moments....the longest and shortest I have ever know...
Selling, buying, packing and moving in just under a month.
Days and nights with a newborn that stretched on...and on...and on....
To turn around and he was already, 6 weeks, three months, five months and now half a year old.
Six glorious months of parental leave with my husband! ♥
Two days before he is returns back to work.  :(
From piglets to market ready in five months.
The beginning of my fourth year of blogging.
Three decades to celebrate in just over a month....

I have experienced so much time this year!  The incredible drawn out, lasting forever, never endingness of time and also the gone in a blink, over before you know, can't believe how fast it goes side of time.

Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  Ephesians 5:16-17


I now know that truly each moment is precious - that you wake up one day and when you go to bed that night your life can be completely different.  That amazing blessings and terrible tragedies happen, everyday.....to everyday people.

I am starting to finally grasp that time is fleeting.  That days, hours, minutes...and seconds matter - they count more then we realize! 

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, ... Colossians 3:23

This does not mean that each day, each moment needs to be "full".  That my life is one record of how I have soaked up, squeezed out and basked in the fullness of time.  That I need to 'make the most' of every opportunity and 'grab life by the horns' or whatever saying have you.

What time is...is a gift.

 
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1


You see I now know...there is never enough time. 

Never enough time to say I love you!
Never enough time to smell fresh baby skin.
Never enough time to clean the house.
Never enough time to sleep.
Never enough time to love.
Never enough time to play games.
Never enough time to sit and read.
Never enough time to say good bye.
Never enough time to hold someone close.
Never enough time to right wrongs.
Never enough time to laugh.
Never enough time to sing.
Never enough time to get your point across.
Never enough time to watch the sun set.
Never enough time to take a long soak.
Never enough time.....

But what I am saying is not that we do not have enough time to do these things, in that we are too busy and life is too full....I am saying that there is never enough time - never too much time!  There is never too much time to relish in the things you enjoy - the things the Lord has blessed you with.

Time marches on, as they say - it goes by, the hours, days, weeks, months and years.  We move in and out of each moment, mostly giving little thought to it. 

"Just a sec!"
"Hold on a moment."
"Wait a minute."
"Be right back."

But it's gone...time is gone, it does not return.  This year brought with it many life changing moments - moments...that's what they are in the grand scheme of things - mere moments....


So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12


My prayer for myself and for all of you is that you stop and look back at this past year - look at all the moments that summed it up. See each moment as a gift.  You've read many times how I have summed up this year as surreal and I think I haven't even taken the time to stop and let it all sink in!

...taken the time....

....I can't take it....it's a gift!

So I wait on the Lord, wait for Him to grant me time - the time I need.

The time to hold my children while the are young.
The time to love my husband.
The time to learn patience.
The time to read His word.
The time to say I love you!
The time to clean the house.
The time to pursue my creative endeavours.
The time to learn to manage money better...or at all! ;)
The time to sleep.
The time to cherish.
The time with family and friends.
The time for each moment....


So, 2012, my year Surreal - how surreal that with the whirl wind of it all, with your roller coaster of emotional extremes that you are over!?!  How, dear Surreal - did it happen?  How has so many moments marched on by...how have I not been able to pause, for just a moment and let it all soak in?  How has 366 days come and gone and how is another year staring at me, waiting and ready to race along just as you have done?

I guess, dear friends...the point of all this is; each day, moment, is a gift!  Please don't read that and nod along, taking in the usual, "Yes, each moment is a gift, got it, make the most of it, got it, yadda, yadda!" No, dear friends, be thankful for every moment - the good and the bad.  Because the good can be sooo good and He is there, right there with you!  Our God is there rejoicing with you, smiling as you smile, relishing in your joy - He is there my friends.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

And the bad...oh it can be bad!  But He is there my friend , right there with you!  Our God is there weeping while you weep, sober hearted as your heart breaks, laying His comfort on you when you need it most - He is there my friends.

Time does not escape, restrain, or hold our God.

He will be there, every moment, whether you 'make the most' of it - or sit and stare out a window.  God has given each day to us.  He has numbered them, He knows all about them, He cares for us and He love us so dearly!



For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope.
 
Jeremiah 29:11








I dedicate this post to my BFF
♥ Thank you for walking through this year Surreal with me.



 
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…
It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”
 C. S. Lewis
 
 
 
 
 
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Dec 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

 
What is Christmas?
It is tenderness for the past,
courage for the present,
hope for the future.
It is a fervent wish that every cup
may overflow with blessings rich and eternal,
and that every path may lead to peace.”
~ Agnes M. Pharo
 
 
 
 



Who can add to Christmas?
The perfect motive is that God so loved the world.
The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son.
The only requirement is to believe in Him.
The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.
- Corrie Ten Boom

   
     
 

Dec 20, 2012

Six Months of Joe - Oh how I love to watch you Grow!


 
Play and enjoy along with this post.
JJ Heller - When I'm With You



 

That's right!  My sweet cheeked little bean is a whole six months old today!  It's hard to believe...hard to believe he is already six month old....and yet so hard to believe he is only six months old!
 
 
So I though I'd take you on a little visual journey of the past six months - just a couple of pictures from each stage - some favourites I have already shared and some new ones to delight you with! ;)
 
 
 


Our sweet little man - two weeks old!

 


Oh baby days, filled with sleeping....for them that is! ;)

 
 
 
 
One month along and just, OH so kissable!





Our early morning photo shoot - with almost two month under his belt.



Two months and still can't figure out what this big black thing is,
why does it go 'click' 'click' a thousand times a day,
and why is it always in his face?!?!



Sweet smiles - just rarely for the camera - so be it!
 
 
 
Silly faces
Serious faces
Loving faces
Sweet faces
Three months along - and loving his sisters very much. 


SO much love! ♥
 
 
 
 
Four happy months now!
 
 
And loving being rolled back and forth, back and forth!!!
Pretty much the only way to get a real good giggle out of him - oh so serious Joe!




Five months and a whole whack of silly faces!!!
 
 
 

As well as a whole whack of sweet faces!!!



And now our little man is six whole months!
 



He is a contemplative sort.
He has a smile that is just adorable!
He is a snuggler!!
He loves to 'stand' but hates his exersaucer.
He gives the wettest sloppiest kisses!
He can roll over but chooses not to. :p
He rarely laughs but holds a twinkle in his eye.
He wants to take in the world - in his 'strong silent' way.
He adores his big sisters!
He has a tooth and a sweet one at that!
He is a blessing, a beautiful, wonderful blessing!


And all in all....





....he just melts my heart. ♥


 Happy Six Months Joseph!




And if you want to catch up on those early days here are some Joe-tastics, posts:

Well Hello Little Baby
The Story of Joe
This Child
What's in a name? - Joseph



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Dec 15, 2012

A little gift from me to you - another blog!

Well Merry Christmas to all of you - it's coming so fast! 

I have a little gift - I'm starting a second blog!

So why don't you pop on over and check it out.

Because you know, I wasn't busy enough....


 
 
 
 
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Dec 13, 2012

The Most AMAZING Wall Project EVER!!!!


...if I do say so myself....

Oh, but seriously, it is!!!!

Remember that project I mentioned that I couldn't wait to share with you??

Well here it is....


 
 
 
Want a closer look?
 
 
 
 
 
 
It's all WALLPAPER!!!!   A wall done in wallpaper collage!  And not just any wall....over 20 some feet of vertical coverage!  The entire wall going up our staircase.
 
 
Can I just say how much I love it???  Because I do!!
 
 
You see, after living four and a half years, in a home we 'knew' we were destined to sell; I had spent much of my decorating time on making sure our house was always 'saleable'.  Don't get me wrong - we loved, LOVED our old Victorian in the city but every time we made a reno or design choice we always kept in mind what that choice would do for the resale value.  Our sweet city home was totally us, yet safe, always in a state of being ready for sale.
 
 
Pasting sheets of wallpaper - I have to say,
if you ever wallpaper - go with the paste!  I love it!!!
 
 
Then we moved - six months ago now - and began to transform our new house into our own home.  So far, we've torn out old laminate floor, drywalled, put on new doors, arranged furniture, rearranged furniture and painted.  We have painted the living room, the girl's bedroom and Joseph's bedroom. (And yes, SOME day I will share photos....promise...just not yet!)  Next on the list was to be the hallway, for in encompasses the stair wall going up from the first floor and the entire upstairs hall. 
 
 
Goodbye UGLY green!
 
 
Our home is open concept to a degree, so this paint choice had to fit in with both the downstairs and up.  I settled on a nice, warm grey.  Something neutral, pleasing to the eye, unoffensive....SAFE!
But I couldn't commit - usually when I know what I want, I run to the store, buy the paint and in a few short hours the job is done!  Not this time...I was dragging my feet on the whole thing and couldn't figure out why. 
 
 
A few days later, my gracious sister-in-law, offered to watch all three kiddos of ours (while being eight and a half months pregnant herself, thanks Steph!) while my hubby and I went on a date - our first since Joe had been born.  We enjoyed a fabulous lunch at a local cafe - a favourite of ours - and then meandered through the downtown, poking into various eclectic shops.  It was in one of these shops where I was inspired!
 
 
 
 
The shop owner had collaged, with wallpaper, a small hallway.  It caught my eye instantly - ignoring the doodads, antiques and colourful dishes, I couldn't help but take-in this whimsical wall!  I inquired about it.  The shop owner told me she used old wallpaper books, the ones the decor stores get rid of and then just pasted them to the wall.  I told her it was fabulous!  She was so kind and she told me if I ever wanted any, she had a bunch of wallpaper books left over.

 
So we went on our merry way.  Picking up the kids and then heading home.  We finished up the day, put the kids to bed, had our quiet evening and then off to bed.  But I lay there....just lay there...and I could not get that wall out of my head.
 
I thought about it all.night.long!
 
I thought about it all.the.next.day!!
 
I knew I needed to do it!!! 
 
And I knew exactly where it was going to be!!!!
 
I told ...errr...asked my hubby about it.  ;)  Instantly he loved the idea too!  We both knew that for far to long we had lived....safe!  Our home, though still a reflection of us, had always been to date, much to safe to be a true reflection of us.  Our artistic, musician, dreamers that we are, reflection of us!  This wall needed to be done - it would solidify that this home was ours and that, Lord willing, we were staying!
 
So I began the process and let me just say it took... a lot longer then expected!  But it was a lot of fun as well!  How did I reach the wall above the stairway you ask?  Well my ingenious/dreamer hubby came up with this;

 
From the first floor looking up



Second floor.
 
He built me a platform to stand on and work from.  And yes, it was a bit scary at first but really it was just like a floor....floating over a big ol' stair case....11 feet or so in the air.....and then I had to put a ladder on it....but it only a bit scary!  ;)


And in case you were wondering, there was a method to my madness....a form of organized chaos as my husband put it.  Actually it took much more creative energy then I realized - but it was also a much more needed creative outlet then I realized.


Where it all began

It felt amazing to be doing something so creative again.  Something so personal and just fitting for us, our personalities and our home!





We have plans to replace the stair runner with something simpler so that it isn't competing with the wall.  Which is what we now affectionately refer to it as, "The Wall".  I want to paint out the spindles and the treads of the stairs to white, leaving the handrail and the big ol' end post still in their original wood.  I know, some of you are cringing at the thought of me painting 136 year old wood...but sorry, it's got to be done! ;)



Before and after! ♥

I'll say that this has been one of the most...if not the most rewarding home design projects I have ever done!  It makes me smile every time I look at it!  And I have to say, it looks even better in person - it just does! 


It has also opened up my eyes to how 'safe' I have been over the years.  I lost a bit of my artistic self when I met the Lord - I can't put it quite into words, it was just that so much of my life changed at that time and I guess I have been on a journey to relearn who I am; in Him.  But this project, I think, is a gift from Him, a way to open my eyes to allowing me to be who He created me to be - artistic, eclectic, spontaneous, creative....

So I will take this gift and go forward from here.  I can't wait to let me creative juices go on the rest of the house and make it a home.....




 
 
OUR home!
 
 
 
 
 
The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked,
but He blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
Proverbs 3:33
 
 
 
 
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Dec 8, 2012

A little different...


Another 'mile stone' as they say - today was my Dad's Birthday - he would have been 63.  So strange to not have him here....so strange to not be celebrating with him....so..strange....

I miss him.

Simple...but the truth...

There really isn't any other way to say it....he is missed...a lot!

I think it's one of the reasons this Christmas season is feeling a bit....different?!

I'm usually such a Christmassy person - like already shopping by August and decorated and tree up by the first of December - Christmassy person....

...but not this year....no this year just feels..different...I don't know what else to say....

It could be that it has been unusually warm here.  There is no snow and it has been rather hot out for November and December...in fact, here's a picture of my girls outside, taken just a few days ago...





No coats, no hats, no mitts - it was like 20 degrees out there...Celsius....I think that's like 68 Fahrenheit....which is INSANE for where we live!! Usually there's snow and lots of it...and if no snow then it's bitter...BITTER cold....

...but like I said...this year is just different!



So with having some lack luster feelings about this Christmas season I was at a loss.  It was halfway through November and I hadn't hardly shopped.  I had no desire to decorate and little energy to even consider baking...






When I mentioned this to my best friend, she was quick to retort - "But Kaitlin, It's JESUS' BIRTHDAY!!!"

Riiight....hmmm...after letting that sink in for a few days I began to think.  She was right - this season isn't about me!  It's not about the lights, the gifts, the snow, or my "Christmas spirit"...or lack there of.  This season is all about Him!  About our wonderful Saviour - it's His Birthday we are to focus on, to remember, to take the time to pause and reflect on.  She was right and I needed to change my heart.



 
 
 
But that is often easier said then done, now isn't it?!

So a few more days wondered by and the weather remained warm and my mood remained humbug and well I once again was at a loss...

...then in the quite of one early morning devotion...I prayed.  I asked God to turn my heart to the true meaning of this wonderful time of year.  To put aside how I felt, so that I could to honour, celebrate and enjoy Jesus.  I opened my bible and my eyes fell upon the book of Luke.

:)




After reading through those special passages all about the birth of our Lord - I felt as if God had laid a gentle yet strong hand on my shoulder.  He was there and He wanted to help me along.  The day progressed as usual.  A little later, the kids off and playing and the baby napping, I went to my computer.  Opening the Internet to our homepage I was greeted with this verse of the day;

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 95:1-2

I smiled - God does know just how much I enjoy music!  And I pondered, thinking on those words and letting them sink in.  Maybe I just needed to 'jump start' my Christmas 'spirit' - I had prayed, I had read but that doesn't automatically make my heart aline with His.  I thought about our stack of Christmas music...tucked away...somewhere.....not revealed yet since moving in....and my dear hubby was out, so I couldn't ask him where our boxes of Christmas things were.

*sigh* Oh well....so much for a 'jump start'.





And then, for no real reason....I clicked on a link in my favourites bar.  A link I hadn't clicked on since moving way out here to the ol' country side - I haven't clicked on it because we no longer get the station this link pertained to.  It was the link for the local Christian station, the one we enjoyed greatly while living in the city.  I don't know exactly why - I had some reasons...but nothing really to cause me to go there...that day...except....

...when I arrived on the homepage for UCB Canada - I was blessed with a gift.  A Christmas music station; gift! 

:)

He's just like that isn't He?


So I played it....loud!  Eventually I venture up to our third flood and dug through some boxes and totes and discovered our wreath....our extremely festive, bright and almost borderline tacky - but I love it oh, so much, wreath!  And even though it was sunny, warm and blue sky out side - I hung it on the door.  I hung it there, stood back and smiled...all the while Christmas songs played on.

And well, since then, we have decorated the rest of the house.  We uncovered the Christmas music, as well as the lights, garland, Nativity scene and other holiday decorations.  But in all honesty...this year is still just different.  Be it the weather, the loss of my dad, the new house, the fact that my hubby is off until the new year or I'm just getting older...I'm just not 'feeling' it.





 
 
But what I have to say is I am feeling; blessed - beyond measure!  I'm feeling closer to God, feeling gratitude for amazing friends, feeling love from dear family, feeling joy in a deeper relationship with our Lord, feeling sorrow in missing my dad but feeling joy for the memories, for how loving he was and for how blessed I was to have had him!

So my earthly father's Birthday is drawing to a close....it was different...I commemorated it in my own way - there was no cake, no gifts...no him....but there were memories, smiles, tears, connecting with family from across the country and there was of course, music!

:)


And so I do look forward to this Christmas season...different as it may be.  I look forward to watching my kids enjoy it, to seeing them gain a better understanding of Jesus and what God did for us through Him.  I look forward to pausing and focusing on our Saviour, to knowing Him more and reflecting on all that this season commemorates.  There will be goodies, there will be gifts and there will be Him.  There will also be new memories made, smiles and even laughter, there will still be tears, we will connect with family near and far, and yes, of course, there will be music....



Marys Boy Child by Boney M on Grooveshark




Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 95:1-2




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Nov 30, 2012

Easy Come, Easy Go!


And so...it looks...and sounds...like I no longer have music for my blog.

*big pout!*


*sigh*

If you got the chance, you would have read here about how much I LOVE music and how important it is to me and just how I really love to blog with it.

But now..... it's gone.

:(

I don't know why but the site that hosted my play list says it is shut down - and well it took me long enough to find that site - I just don't have the gusto to go look for another music player.

So my blog shall remain music-less...for now....  ;)

In the mean time I shall delight you with photos!

:D

We all like photos, now don't we?!?


Especially of a sweet baby boy...who's already FIVE MONTHS OLD?!??!?




Our little man has been chomping on everything lately....




....but we were still a bit surprised when his first tooth came in, just days before he turned five months old!  I know for some that isn't too early - but with our history of kids and teeth...well, we were shocked!  (see the My Family page for more on that story!)



He's getting so big.  He wants to sit up on his own but hasn't quite mastered it yet.  He is enjoying play much more and even has fun with a few favourite toys.  He is getting sillier too and we are working on getting more laughs out of him - our Joe is a serious boy....most of the time....



 
 
 
 
So we bounce between giggles and silly smiles to serious face and contemplative stares.
 

 
 
 
Serious....
 






....silly.....


 
 



.....contemplative......

 
 
 
 
 
....sweet.....

 
 
 
 


And well - he's just growing so fast!

Five months and already one tooth in and I think another any day now.  He is sleeping better at night and naps ONLY in his bed - HALLELUJAH!!!  He has sampled some solids and LOVES them...but I think we'll hold off of full introduction for just a little longer.  He is eager to roll over and is well on his way to doing so.  He melts my heart with wet, gooey 'kisses'!  And he adores his sisters and they adore him too, their "Handsome little man!"


He is a sweet cheeked little bean, who we love ever so dearly!






Oh and Joe is very happy that his cousin has finally arrived!  Welcome Joshua!






So things are moving along - the house is decorated and ready for Christmas...even if the weather isn't?!?!  I'll post some pics of our Happy Holiday Home in the Country soon and talked about my mixed emotions in this season.  I also have some ideas brewing and can't wait to share and I have a fantastic project to share with all of you. 


Music or not - I will blog along! 


;)





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Nov 21, 2012

What's in a name? - Joseph



And now our little Joseph Mario. Our third baby born, first son, who came into this world in the most surreal year of our lives!




If you want the whole story on Joseph you'll have to read it here in my post - The Story of Joe. But I will recap for those that don't want to post hop!



 
 
My hubby and I had come to a point where we wanted to commit everything to God. The Lord had been doing a work in our hearts and we knew that we had more to surrender and more to give the Lord. So after much prayer, study and conviction were were baptised together.
 
That brought 'great' changes in our lives. I say 'great' in quotations because well - great is a relative term, isn't it? Either way, the Lord worked in us, in many ways. One of those ways being the area of children, in regards to the ones we had and the ones we didn't. He moved in us the conviction of seeing our two sweet daughters as true blessings, yes even on the bad days! - and He also moved in us the notion that we took too much control and not enough trust in Him in the area of how many our family was to be numbered at.
 
 
 
 
 
So after repentance and prayer, our hearts began to change. And well God did some neat things and if you really want to know you'll just have to post hop over to that post to read it, because I'm just to lazy to type it all out again for yah! ;) lol!!
 
 
And in this post, I mentioned how I had asked God to remove any outside influences on our name choice for our baby.  I laid at His feet the choice and decision and told Him to take control, give peace and lead us in the final decision of our baby's name.
 
 




It was then that I paused to take in the gorgeous sunset before me. Snapping away with my camera and just enjoying the peace and tranquility around me, watching the sun sunk below the horizon.  Forgetting entirely about what I had just prayed and asked of God - pregnancy brain still at this point, remember?! haha! - I opened my bible.  It was there that God showed me, three times, in His word that our choice for Joseph, was to be the name for our son.
 
I know what you're thinking, easy to find Joseph three times in the bible - but when the last place God lead me to was the book of Amos - well you can be sure I was convinced!

 
 

 
 
And so how fitting we have named our sweet baby boy Joseph Mario.  We picked Joseph first for my husband's grandfather, but  it is also the name for my mom's dad, my step-mom's dad and my father's grandfather - who happened to be Giuseppe Mario - Giuseppe being the Italian version of Joseph and Mario being a family name passed through the generations - my dad's middle name was Mario as well. :)


Joseph - meaning: God shall increase - and oh how He has!  He has increased our sweet little family in the blessing that is Joseph but also our God shall increase more and more in our lives.  We have committed our ways to Him, to follow after Him and His ways - no matter the cost.

Mario - Manly, Warlike - I know, who names their son something with 'war' in it - I mean you're just asking for trouble then aren't you?  But with all the 'hurdles' this year has brought for our little family, I think having a warlike son, ready to fight for the Lord, with strength, determination and commitment, will be a good thing....a very much needed thing!





And so you have the stories of our littles' names.  The reasons and whys behind how we chose them....er how God chose them...because like I said, had it been up to me you probably would have just read the stories of "Girl", "Girl 2" and "Boy"! ha!






A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favor is better than silver or gold.
Proverbs 22:1
 
 
 
 
 

What's in a name? - Olivia


What's in a name? - Catherine






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