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Montgomery Gentry sings a song entitled Tattoos & Scars. The key line says “tattoos and scars are different things. And yes, they are. Kind of. But one of the things that makes them similar is the story that they carry.

Have you ever seen someone with tattoos and asked them to tell you about them? It is usually an amazing experience to hear what prompted the tattoo or the story behind it. The same is true of scars, but often, we don’t see people’s scars because they are hidden or may not even be physical scars.

In November 2016, I got my first tattoo at the age of 42 after thinking and crafting and trying to decide if this was something that I was willing to live with for the rest of my life. It has a story, and deep meaning for me. It is a heart because everything that I do in my life I want to do in and with love. There is a cross at the center because I choose to put Christ at the center of all that I say and do. My children’s initials are there because they are a gift of love from God. There are 3 smaller hearts that signify Father, Son, Spirit; health of mind, body, and soul, and Mike, Anne, and Ty.

I also have scars. Physical ones that remind me of running down the rocky alley in flip-flops, and our childhood cat, Fluffy, that was NOT meant to be an inside snuggle cat (but don’t tell my sister Stephanie, she still won’t believe you). I have incision scars from fertility testing, gall bladder removal, and appendix removal, that remind me of not only those procedures but all of the circumstances that surrounded those times.

But then there are the scars that you can’t see, the ones that I carry with me from words harshly spoken, friendships broken or lost, and many other hurts that have come from different situations over the years. These are the ones that tend to be hidden away in the deepest recesses of ourselves and every now and then something happens to bring our attention to them. Maybe the memory is just that, a memory, because we have been able to heal from the experience. But sometimes the scars are nasty because they keep getting ripped open and never heal properly or completely.

When we look at others, there may be some who carry some of their stories on their body as tattoos, but most people carry their stories within themselves, in places that we can’t see. What we can see is someone who is sad, angry, aloof, removed, attempting to cover their hurt with a smile and a joke, pushing their kid to do more and be more, or a host of other actions and emotions.

What if, instead of judging them we offered them grace?

What if, instead of assuming we know what’s going on, we asked them to share their story?

What if we are the balm that helps them to heal from whatever gave them their scar?

It’s easy to see and feel our own scars. It’s harder for us to acknowledge that others have them as well. It is harder still to recognize that some of those scars we have inflicted upon others or we have reopened by ignoring the story and the person behind them.

When we love our neighbor as ourself, we give them the same kind of care we would give to ourself. I think that means that we listen to their stories and help to heal their wounds in such a way that the scar brings a reminder not of the hurt the caused it, but of the love that helped it to heal.

What do you think?

I would love to see/hear some of your tattoo and scar stories in the comments!


Seminary. Church work. Family. PiYo/Beachbody work. Volunteer work. BoCo RunCo work.

My life is crazy these days without much margin. I won’t say my life is not my own, because it is my own. I am here because I have chosen to follow this path. It definitely isn’t easy, and I have to be honest and say that I am struggling with the demands on my time, but it is exactly where I am supposed to be.

I was reminded of that very fact just this morning. During my prayer time I was working through some of the discipleship tools being offered to me through one of my seminary courses. I listened to Rachel Platten’s Fight Song (below), both this version and the version done by the Piano Guys, read Rachel’s back story about this song, and then spent some time with Psalm 84.

Through this and some insight from our professor, I was reminded of what it took for me to get to this place. I have fought with God over whether or not He really meant to call me to be a pastor. I have struggled with verbalizing this call to my family and friends. I have ben knocked down by things like lack of support and imperfect systems. I even went through a very tough time of simply waiting for three years and seeing no forward progress at all.

Through that time I had a post-it note that stuck on my computer monitor reminding me, “Your calling is sure,” words that the Lord had given to me through a variety of sources.

When the time of waiting was over and movement began again, it didn’t always feel like forward momentum. In fact, there was a period of time that felt like I was punched in the gut and left for dead. But God was still at work marking out a new journey on new pathways.

The new journey hasn’t moved quickly and easily either. My husband says, “It seems like anything worthwhile isn’t easy,” and I agree. There are still many fears to conquer, mountains to climb, and opposition to face, but I cannot let the fight go out of me. I have to push forward (in God’s timing), follow-through, do my part, and watch as God fulfills His promises.

Part of Psalm 84 (VOICE) says “Blessed are those who make you their strength, for they treasure every step of the journey…They journey from place to place, gaining strength along the way; until they meet God in Zion. (Bold mine.)

These words were especially important today as I feel weak and worn down, trying not to fall into the “just get through” mentality that can sometimes plague me into not treasuring every step of the journey. So the reminder that I will gain strength along the way is a beautiful one for me today. I won’t continue to wear down as I go, but I will gain strength as I go.

This fight that I have to finish the journey isn’t one I fight alone, but rather one that God fights right along side me. He gives me the strength to fight. He gives me the path to follow. He gives me the truth to believe.

I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.

Bring it on.

Fight Song
Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion
And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me
Losing friends and I’m chasing sleep
Everybody’s worried about me
In too deep
Say I’m in too deep (in too deep)
And it’s been two years I miss my home
But there’s a fire burning in my bones
Still believe
Yeah, I still believe

No Words

Lately I have been thinking about times when there are no words.

I have opened this page up to write a blog almost daily for the last couple of weeks, but there have been no words.

I mean, sure there are words running around in my head, but nothing coherent or formed that I could put down.

Life is busy. Life is crazy. Life is wonderful and hard all at once.

I have been re-watching Dawson’s Creek. Yes, I know how pathetic that sounds. Mike and I watched the entire series when it aired on television (don’t take away his man-card, we were newlyweds and I wanted to watch it) and while scrolling through Hulu a few weeks back I saw that it was among the offerings of shows available to me with the touch of a button. In a moment of weakness, I pushed play.

One of the things that I have (again) noticed about this show is the massive amount of words that pour out of these (supposedly) teenage kids. Always talking, analyzing and waxing eloquent about this, that, and the other circumstances in their lives. Rarely do you see any of them in a place where they have no words.

And while part of me thinks that is no where close to reality, another part of me realizes that we often talk too much. But the difference is we talk about nothing, because we have no words to really talk about the hard stuff. We can find lots of words to talk about the stuff that doesn’t much matter. We can talk about the weather, how busy we are in general terms, how we don’t like this or that about home/work/school/church/community, and what our plans our for the weekend. But when it really comes down to it, the words that we need to speak stay unspoken.

When struggling with yet another bout of depression, we don’t speak the words, “help,” to anyone.

When experiencing deep pain and sorrow, we put on a happy face and answer, “fine” when asked how we are doing.

When watching friends go through the pain of divorce, we don’t know what to say, so we say nothing.

When seeing others grieving loss of one kind or another, we allow them to suffer in silence for one reason or another.

When witnessing the downward spiral and loss of faith of a community member, we stay silent.

When observing someone making poor choices, we choose not to talk with them about it.

The thing is, in those times that there are no words, sometimes words are exactly what is needed. Not surface conversation. Not platitudes that make empty promises. But words that acknowledge the truth. Because, you see, something happens when you acknowledge the truth and speak it out.

Healing can begin.

Help can arise.

Hope can be proclaimed.

Comfort can be given.

Faith can be renewed.

Love can be shown.

Let’s work on learning how to speak the words that need to be spoken, the hard words, the words that don’t want to come, and the ones that bring truth, healing, help, hope, comfort, faith and love into our lives and the lives of those around us.


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When did we become a culture that thinks so highly of our (individual) selves that we no longer respect those who are in authority?This has been bugging me lately.

When did we become a culture that thinks so highly of our (individual) selves that we no longer respect those who are in authority?

I have seen it getting worse for years.

There is always someone who doesn’t think they have to wait in the pick-up line at school, despite the fact that the principal has asked that parent’s don’t drive around those in front of them so that accidents can be avoided.

There is always someone who doesn’t think they have to use the left lane on the interstate as a passing lane only.

There is always someone who doesn’t think that the answer they were given by one person is good enough so they have to go find someone else and see if they can force them to give the “right” answer.

I read somewhere on the inter webs that Mark Twain once said, “Don’t go around saying that the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” Whether or not he actually said it, it is true. We don’t “deserve” anything. Why do we think we are owed something? Why do we think we are above what those placed in authority have said? Why do we think if we push hard enough, or attempt enough end runs we can evade what the authorities have deemed important?

The results of this kind of mind-set are children who don’t respect authority – elders, teachers, police, etc. – and why is that?

Because they are mirroring the behavior that their parents have set forth.

A child is failing a class? It must be the teacher’s fault, so the parents yell at the teacher. And when they don’t get the answer they want, they yell at the principal. And when that doesn’t work, they head on over to the superintendent or a school board member.

It needs to stop. Romans 13:1-7 says:

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

Do people in areas of leadership screw up? Sometimes! Do they take advantage of their power? Sometimes! But that doesn’t change the fact that we are supposed to respect and honor those who are in authority over us. We will answer for our transgressions. Those in authority will answer for theirs.

Our job is not to usurp their authority and try to get our way when we don’t like how it affects us. Our job is to be respectful, not rebellious.

It is time to start looking at our behavior and the example we are setting or our children and make sure that we aren’t walking around thinking we are the exception to every rule, we are entitled to what we want, and we don’t have to listen to those in authority. And those of us in authority have to start being responsible and trustworthy. Because unless something changes, the path we are headed down will lead us to a world that none of us want to live in.


Playing Dumb & FragileSavor by Shauna Niequist. I love this devotional. It makes me think. It resonates with me. It gives me recipes. And the daily readings are short. Short is good when you are as busy as I am.

Sometimes as I read them I get fired up. And this was one of the ones that got me fired up. It might have something to do with the fact that I am a girl raising a girl. And that I so badly want to influence young girls and young women to grow into the women that they were created to be rather than falling prey to the pervasive influence of our sex-crazed culture where the gender divide still is quite evident in many ways.

  • Why do women think they have to rely on their looks to get what they want?
  • Why do women think they have to dress with their shirt cut down to there and their skirt cut up to here to draw attention?
  • Why do women think they need to play the part of the “weaker” sex to attract men?
  • Why do women have to worry about being seen as “bitchy” if they have a strong personality?
  • Why do women have to worry about offending a man if they are in a place of leadership (particularly true in the church, but still entirely too true in the corporate world as well)?

The answer is the same as the one as spoken and sung by the character Lieutenant Cable in the musical South Pacific. The song, “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” is preceded by a line saying racism is “not born in you! It happens after you’re born…” The same is true for the ways in which women behave, and are perceived by other women and men. We are all taught how we are to behave and fit into the world around us based on how our parents raise us, our peers influence us, and the culture defines us. And the only way this changes from generation to generation is when we stand up and say, “enough is enough,” and choose to teach ourselves and our children a new way to operate within the world around us.

That means not perpetuating the dumb and fragile persona. That means teaching our daughters to be strong, and dress appropriately. That means doing things that make us feel beautiful, but not just to garner attention and teaching our daughters to do the same. That means teaching our sons to respect women for more than their looks and teaching them not to assume that any woman is unable to do something. But it also means teaching them to be attentive and offer to help in such a way that doesn’t demean or shame women. It means teaching our families that authority in leadership has nothing to do with male or female, and no matter what, you listen to the authority figure.

We have all been carefully taught how to be women and men. And like it or not, we are carefully teaching our children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and other young people that we influence. Let’s decide here and now that we are going to be intentional in how we communicate our values – not only in this area of sexism, but in all areas of our lives.



IndividualismI know what you are thinking. “What the heck is she talking about? It is good that I am an individual! That makes me my own person, different from everyone else, able to stand out from the crowd and makes what I have to offer the world special!”

And that is all true. We do need to lean into our giftings and our talents. We do need to make sure that we are not just trying to “fit in” and be like everyone else around us. But there are some aspects of our individualistic societal norms that are hurting us, and lately I have been bombarded with the reality of this.

Years ago, it was a common thing to hear, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and it was not only a saying, but a reality. If a child was misbehaving, it was common to see whatever adult that was around take care of the situation by stepping in and offering the necessary correction. That was because the name of the game was community. Everyone was looking out for the good of the community.

When the focus is on what is best for the community (any size – large or small, family unit or social unit) the criteria for decision-making is different from when the focus is on what is best for the individual. With one it is all about the group. With the other it is all about “me.”

When the focus becomes all about “me,” certain things begin to happen. No longer does anyone else matter. No longer does anyone else even make it into the decision-making process. When the focus is all about “me,” the basic tenets of The Golden Rule are all but forgotten.

“She did it to me, so I am going to do it to her.”

“He isn’t meeting my needs, so why should I meet his?”

“This makes me feel good, so who cares who it hurts in the process.”

This is the mindset of the individual who has lost the ability to live in community.

It is this mindset that is dangerous to our society.

When this mindset permeates a community, a major breakdown of that community occurs, and I think we are increasingly seeing the results of that breakdown in both social and family units.

The school parking lot is one area in which I see this at work. Parents are so focused on their to-do list and where they have to be that they can’t stop to let a child cross in front of their car, much less let another parent pull into the line in front of them.

I see this happening in families where the parents are so focused on themselves that the kids are left to their own devices, which not only models to the children that they can make life all about themselves, but also breaks down the family unit into a group of individuals rather than a collective, which is what the family should be.

I see this happening with kids who have never been taught respect for other people because they have parents who have raised them to believe that life is all about themselves and what they want. And I see adults who think they can bully and intimidate anyone to get what they want, because they think they are entitled to it.

I see this happening in relationships where one spouse doesn’t feel like they are getting their needs met, and instead of reaching out and working to meet the needs of their spouse, they go looking elsewhere to get what they think they need, never mind the potential (and inevitable) destruction of at least one other person.

I see this happening when it comes to health. This attitude of “I deserve to eat whatever I want whenever I want,” despite how it affects others is part of the problem with the obesity crisis in our country. Never mind how one’s health effects their family. Never mind how one’s chronic disease affects everyone else’s health care costs.

I see this happening when it comes to business. “We can go ahead and market this food (or any other item) that we know is terrible for people because we are only concerned about our bottom line, not how it affects people; and even if it does harm them in some way, we can blame them for not taking responsibility for themselves.”

But one of the saddest places I see this happening is in the church. “I know right from wrong and I know that I am good when it comes to my faith and relationship with God, and that is enough. I don’t need to help anyone else. I don’t need to offer them hope. I don’t need to give to the work of the Lord, because I need want the money more.”

I could go on and on with the ways that individualism is detrimental to our society, but I think you get the point. I hope you get the point.

During this season of Lent, I have been thinking about self-denial, preaching about self-denial, and now blogging about self-denial. As a follower of Christ, I am told to take up my cross, deny myself, and follow Christ. That means that my needs don’t come first. In fact, they come third. God and others come before me. My to-do list takes a back seat to God’s. My wants take a back seat to serving others. That is not always a fun place to be. Sometimes I feel stressed out and taken advantage of when I am living life this way; but every time God provides what I need – whether that is time to accomplish a task, rest, someone to care for me, or just a reminder that I am doing what He has called me to do.

I am trying. I am learning. I am working to teach my children. Life is not all about me. Life is not all about them. The way we view life, the way we make decisions, and the way we contribute to society has to be done through the eyes of the community and not through the eyes of individualism. That is the only way that our society will thrive, and as goes the community, we go as well.



It’s Monday! And I have so many things going through my head!

So welcome to the randomness of my brain today!

  • I am IN LOVE with a new shampoo and conditioner. It is called Purology. I am currently using Strength Cure and I can honestly say I can’t remember the last time my hair was this healthy – and I have been using only salon products on it for years. It is a little more pricy than some products, BUT you only have to use the tiniest amount. My previous shampoo and conditioner had a pump and i would pump THREE TIMES to get enough to get a good lather with the shampoo and cover all of my hair with the conditioner. With Purology, I use maybe a dime-to-nickel sized dollop and have PLENTY! If you are in the Greenville, Illinois area, go see Fay at Absolutely You and get some!
  • I am pretty sure the absolute best way to start a Monday morning is with a good sweat and PiYo. I always feel so much better after a workout, and I am ready to take on the world.
  • March starts tomorrow. It is my birthday month. I have maintained my current weight for a number of months now and I am ready to start moving downward again. The winter layers of clothing are going to start coming off soon, and I want to get my body ready for summer! I have a plan. I have shared my plan with a couple of other people (because if you don’t share your plan, there is no one to hold you accountable), and I am ready to EXECUTE IT! No more excuses. No more junk food. No more staying in bed instead of working out. No more short-cuts. The only way to get from one point to another is to MOVE, and I am on the move. Anyone out there want to come with me? I can help you with a plan, just sent me a message!
  • About six weeks ago I bought a juicer. I LOVE it! I have been making some kind of juice about once a day just to get some more nutrients in and hopefully reap some detoxification benefits. I did a three-day partial juice fast last week (I had Shakeology for breakfast and I ate dinner every day with fruit/vegetable juices in between) to try to help reset my system after having the flu the previous week. It was great. If you know me, you know that I am all about consistent, disciplined, healthy eating – not crash diets and fads. In other words, I don’t think going on an all-juice fast for an extended period of time is necessarily the best thing for everyone (there may be some cases where that would be recommended by a doctor), but I do think there are some benefits to adding fresh juice to our diets and I am enjoying experimenting with various concoctions!
  • Finally, it is LEAP DAY! Let’s talk about LEAPS! I feel like I am leaping all over the place these days, stepping out and up in ways that I never dreamed possible, but one of the biggest ones right now is volunteering to organize and direct the Vine to Wine 1/2 Marathon and 5K coming in September. I have organized many events and run many races, but never done anything quite this big. I am excited. And a little scared. But I like it. Life without challenges isn’t really living and I am up for it.

Your turn! What is one of the BIGGEST leaps you have taken or want to take in your life – any area?


Oh. My. Word.

Or to quote Liz Lemon, “What the What?”

I never, ever dreamed I would do it.

Sure, I thought it would be a great idea, and I LOVE creating events and such, but I just didn’t think it would be a part of my reality.

But it is.

I have thought for years that we needed a running club in Greenville.

And I have always thought it would be great to host a big running event in Greenville.

And BOTH of these things are happening as we speak.

An impromptu New Year’s Day group run had a friend voice what I had been thinking, “we should start a running club in Greenville.” And that was enough for me to decide that 2016 was going to be the year.


Five awesomely fun 10K runs at wineries around the Indianapolis area and befriending the race director, along with a new winery opening up in town had me thinking it would be so cool to do a wine run here in town. A few conversations later and the Vine to Wine 1/2 Marathon and 5K is becoming a reality.

Me. The girl who didn’t want to call herself a runner for a long time. Pulling people together to, of all things, run.

I am thrilled. I am ecstatic. I am so excited for the future.

It is a beautiful thing to see your dreams becoming reality.

Live in or around Bond County Illinois and want to join BoCo RunCo? Visit our website for details on how to join!

Like to run (or walk) and want to do a great 1/2 marathon or 5K? Register for the Vine to Wine 1/2 Marathon and 5K on September 10, 2016!

Curious about how a high school runner who became a non-runner got back to being a runner? Read my story here!


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The first of this year has been a rough one already. I have friends that have experienced unforeseeable tragedy, and I hurt for them. Just today, I heard of another tragic happening affecting a family I love, and I have been reminding myself all day that we don’t have the answers or understand why, and in this fallen world, filled with evil, God is still present.

This is my sermon from this past Sunday, and I just feel like I should share it today.

Take a listen and let God’s word bring you hope today.


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So, this blog post idea has been in the Notes app on my phone since November 17. Today is December 7 for those of you who might not realize it. This is how crazy my life has been: a blog post that pretty much writes itself hasn’t been written. But today is Monday. A new day, a new week, and I have been marking stuff off of my to-do list like a mad woman. Not sure how long into the week being on top of things will last, so I am going to take this opportunity to ACTUALLY WRITE! It is a beautiful thing!

So one of the things that I have struggled with for years is depression. And the winter only makes it more pronounced. I strongly dislike (note that I am choosing NOT to use the word hate) cold, dreary, wet, dark days. I have already said numerous times that summer can come any day now. I like my sun and warm. I like being outside. I like laying in the pool on a raft, taking a ride on the lake in a boat, sitting on my porch sipping ice-cold drinks with friends. And while the occasional “snuggle up on the couch in a warm cozy blanket” day is a welcome respite, the “I am freezing all the time and can’t get warm for anything” monotony of winter leads me down a dark path.

Because I know this about myself, I have had to learn ways to fight off the “I want to stay in my bed for weeks and eat nothing but bad-for-me comfort food and take turns sleeping and watching television” blahs. Here are a few of my go-to weapons.

  1. Work out. Do it. Whatever kind of workout you can do. Take a brisk walk. Go for a run. Head out to a group exercise class (Here is one I teach!). Find an in-home DVD that you enjoy (I can help you find one.). Do something EVERY DAY. The more you move, the more endorphins are released. The more endorphins that are released, the better you feel. The better you feel, the easier it is to fight off the blahs when they come in like a flood.
  2. Eat right. Do it. If you don’t know how, talk to me about it and I will help. Comfort food may seem like it comforts you in the moment, but those sugary, high fat, high carb foods will cause you to crash harder once the initial “high” wears off. Studies have shown that VEGETABLES have an inherent anti-depressant quality, but to get the benefits, you have to eat them. 🙂 If you struggle with this, here is a way to help: don’t buy the junk and/or keep it out of sight. Keep healthy choices in front of you and make them what you reach for in those moments of weakness. Also, when you are having a blah day, be sure that you aren’t eating for comfort. When you feel overly “snacky” find an alternative – go for a walk, call a friend, pick up a hobby you enjoy. Making these healthier choices will help you combat those “down” days.
  3. Get sleep. Do it. Lack of sleep wreaks all kinds of havoc on your body, not to mention your emotional state. Figure out how much sleep you need and make it happen. Sometimes it is hard when you have commitments, but as often as possible get to bed at a time that allows you adequate rest. I know that I need between 6-1/2 and 8 hours of sleep a night to function well. That means if I am getting up at 4:30 a.m. (yep – that is what time I get up almost every weekday so I can make sure #1 happens), I need to have the lights out by 9:30 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. at the absolute latest. That means that I get kids headed to bed between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m., and I am in my bed by 9:00 p.m. to have some time to do my devotions and read for a little while. If you want to feel better, make sleep a priority.
  4. Even if you are doing all three of these things fairly well, there will still be rough days sometimes. Don’t let the blahs win. Get up. Get dressed in real clothes (don’t default to the sweats/yoga pants that are calling your name). Put on some makeup (if you are one that wears makeup). Do your hair. There is something about the process of making yourself look good that in turn makes you feel good.
  5. Last but certainly not least, if you are still struggling, ASK FOR HELP! It might be you need your spouse to do something to help you. You might need to have lunch with a friend. It is possible that you need medical or pharmaceutical assistance. When you have tried everything and it isn’t getting you anywhere, it is time to call in reinforcements in the form of PEOPLE who care about you and love you.

You can make it through the winter blahs. Even if it means you occasionally need to turn up the music and have an impromptu dance party in the middle of your living room or drive around town with the music blaring and you singing at the top of your lungs. (Yes, sometimes these are necessary coping mechanisms for me.) So in that vein, since it is Monday and I like to share music with you on Mondays, enjoy one of my family’s favorite Christmas songs and SMILE!


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