Why God Hasn't Given Up On You. UNITE Linky

"I haven't given up on you." Bible turns covering the porch of all my hopes.  Prayer just finished.  Heart begging for what only God and I know...

Those secrets nobody sees.

And sometimes there's secrets.  Secrets only you and God hide inside the core of your chest.  Planted in infancy, born through trials, come to life through nothing short of faith and the miracle of how God uses broken vessels for His good and faithful purposes.

And I am not going to lie...faith has been in wanting lately.  Diagnosis. Schooling difficulties. Little flecks of situations piling upon piles to drive us to the very depths of where we were created from.

Dust.

But then His Spirit calls deep unto us.  And He says, "He has made us alive, spirit beings...not just fresh and bone."

In Him, our faith can be bold. "His yoke is easy, His burden is light" He reminds us over and over again.  And my God says, "in this world you will have troubles, but fear not, for I have overcome all of your difficulties."

So, why do we worry?  Why do we doubt?

I lay these giants at the feet of Jesus. Will you lay yours down too? Regardless of this list of reasons of why she shouldn't be used...

And some think, if we strive hard enough, try to live "doing" good works...we will somehow reach harmony and perfect nirvana with the God of all Creation.  But, take my life, make a list....and my good deeds could never outweigh my sins...

And a scale-less God....that's who He is.  A God who doesn't part the seas simply because we have done everything He has ever asks.  He is the God of Rahab, the prostitute, the God of Mary Magdeline who turned from all she did to follow God despite her sins...

So friends, today, do you have a dream?  Do you have a deeply seeded hope that hides entrenched within where nobody sees?

Well, God knows.  He sees.  He says your "good" could never repay for the death He died and the hope He gives...

It is only His blood that washes away our sins.  And the good work He started?  Trust Him alone to finish it...

So, we can rejoice...this life of "try hard" can be crucified with Him.  The life of "works" and "duty" and living life of purpose to repay a God that loves us is meaningless and can be turned to a love that delights only to please Him.

For doesn't scripture tell us, God chose to die for us...while we were still full-blown sinners? 

For freedom He has set us free.   And friends, today, I think it would glorify God most if we lived free for Him indeed.  Laying our list of worries, and doubts, and fears, and difficulties humbly at His feet.

Because I have a dream.  A dream confirmed over and over again in my heart of hearts where no one sees.  And my guess is...you have one too.

How about together we trusted God, rise up in faith, believing that regardless of what we have done...God hasn't given up on us yet....

And we can and will walk out in faith the journey He has set before us.

And I bet, if you quieted your spirit.  Stopped right now.  Silenced everything around you...

The same God who rose Christ from the dead, the same Spirit that lives in us because of the blood that Jesus shed...would call to you in your heart of hearts...would draw you in hope, and faith, and with encouragement....

He would whisper to you too somewhere where heaven meets earth, deep where divine dreams are birthed...there, in the soil of our souls...

He too calls you out of love....And it doesn't matter what you have done or where you have been....

"I haven't given up on you yet".


Today was another one of those posts.  The ones where I have something else written, but God burdens me with a fresh concept I feel He wants me to write.  With this blog dedicated to His wil land His purposes....I pray this touched someone and spoke to people in a way that my own words couldn't.

UNITE Blog Hop

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Oh ya, and the next few weeks UNITE won't be here.  We will taking some time to pray and seek Him according to what this blog should look like in the future!

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Despair or Hope? When the Doctor Has Bad News

Loud cracking sounds startle me from my sleep. With the wars in the middle east, I roll my head over as thoughts already consume me, "What was that?" I ask sleeping husband.

"Thunder and lightening", he whispers.

And with Israel having no peace, and Russia domineering Ukraine, it can be hard not to think the wars of the world can't over-taken our time and our place.

Peace roles down my back. I thank God for my ancestors land.  Then, restless legs carry me down the spiral staircase, here to these keys.  Words flashing in my mind...

Until I put them here before me.  Because life will keep going...but we must find a way to unravel all we are holding...or we just might explode.

"I was born this way?" My mind flashes to when I saw her face in my rear-view mirror yesterday.  Mouth open, eyes staring, as if she had just heard something that would change her life forever.

And it did. 

The news that my eight-year-old daughter wasn't "injured", but was born deaf in one ear. The fact that struggles sometimes are not from the wars we are experiencing...but a result from the battles generations before us faced...and failed.  And we are stuck with the consequences, trying to digest our lives, finding hope amidst someone else's worst mistakes.

I gulp. My heart falls as if I am riding a sky-scraping roller coaster...and just want off.  Little did I know, the day had just begun.

The optomologist pulls me from the waiting room.  Our foster toddler starts screaming, locked in a small, dark room....triggers....something.

So, I walk to the lobby where the secretary, who happens to have once been also a foster parent, gives our ragging little one jelly beans.

Normally, I cringe every time little children are given sugar, anything damaging to their innocent, heaven-sent bodies...

But sometimes coping, breathing, making it through another hour, can hold precedence over any harsh rules to "preserve" or "produce" perfect children...

So, she eats jelly beans.  And I go into see the doctor.  Hands free.

"She has white spots in the retina of both eyes."  He tells me.  "Has she been looking at the sun? She must have been looking at the sun." He sounds panicked. "She needs to go see a specialist."

And I don't worry.  My goal simply being to get out of the building, without seeing more people I know, holding a baby who is ready to explode because they are all out of pacifying jelly beans.

And my eight year old wonders why she doesn't need glasses, but needs a specialist instead.

But then, it's only eleven a.m. and I start educating myself about what these "white spots" mean. And I find, any spot in the retina in kids is never good...it can be progressive, irreversible, and with no remedy to stop it's take-over.

And like the storm this morning, I realize I am in my own war.  A war with facts, thoughts, emotions.  A war with the enemy of my soul.  A war needing faith as my shield, the word of God, the defender of my soul...

It is here I get stuck.  Here I sit in the drenching rain on this warm summer day.  Here I get to choose how I will respond to mother's that leave kids hearing impaired.  Pregnant ones who harm innocent victims, handicapping their lives by their own selfishness and carelessness...

And a darkness of thoughts mixes with the dark clouds and rain I see flooding the dry ground outside.

And why should children ever have to live, suffering because the one carrying heaven...didn't realize she has a miracle inside...forgetting that a perfect little flawless one carries the fragrance of heaven, resides in the very fullness of her insides?   

And why do we need to inform these miracle-carries that children should never be locked inside rooms
neglected by their mothers, or given toxic drugs, or abandoned in cribs, preferring their own cravings over any need to protect their children...cradling the perfect soul God's given them?

For each child is a miracle..and yet daily, far too many forget it.

I drive later that day.  Because few things can heal me like a long drive and some worship music. And it here, in this battling storm, friends' voices flash inside me, loud and clear...

"We must love the families as much as these kids."  "What an amazing thing to love and have grace for the parents of these children.  What a gift."

I start to sink in my furry.  War with the thoughts that my daughter may be blinding, her ears already leading her to wear aids, in a world where sound is everything.

And yet, I have a choice to make, because joy, peace, forgiveness, and mercy aren't just going to run up and grab me.  Love is never going to flood me, simply because I am some kind of "good person".

I wrestle there in my car.  Thunder strikes down.  Lightning grips me in a way I have never felt before...

And I think of my little girl, unable to see.  The challenges she already faces, in a world she has already learned, can be so mean...

And I cry up to the heavens, "Jesus"...because sometimes no other word can heal the broken soul like the name of God incarnate...the one who takes dead things and rebirths them, making them whole again by the power of His resurrection.

"Help me"....

My own life almost instantly flashes before my eyes. "Worse things...I have done worse things..."  My judgement turns to the life I had before I started playing "good Christian"...

And instead of alligning me and God, us vs. them....I realize I am still on the side of "sinner".  God knows, the heart of my hearts is capable of even greater sins of selfishness.

And why is it...we don't want to look upon the ugly parts of our hearts...only the good?  Why do we all like"saint"...but somewhere along the way in our Christian walk, we forget that we are still carnal, sinners whose hearts are still wicked above all else?

And I have murdered with my thoughts...condemned with selfish, the souls of others in my mind...

While love alone can redeem the hope of one caught in the battlefield, held captive by the lie that there is no way out of whatever we are going through. Rebuke the enemy who always seeks to dethrone the character of God..taunting..."God is not stronger, greatest than our fears".

"We'll take her to the healing room"..."We'll do whatever it takes to care for her", my husband tells me on the other line.

As I lay down my sword, I feel God start silencing the lightening striking at the core of me...

"Help me love the parents"....I whisper to a God who has met me on my bedroom floor.  Rolls of tissue, prayer confessing all I have known for one straight hour.

"There is hope.  There is always hope.  Without hope, surely the heart would die." I say out loud to a God who always meets us in our cries. 

And I remember when I used to live denying bad things could happen to Christians, thinking God doesn't allow us to suffer in a world where thunder can scream to us clearer than His voice inside us.  I used to think positive thinking, and ignorant optimism was the answer to all my worries...

But yet, as I leave my bedroom, truth pierces deeply..."It's not about me".  And I turn my focus to The One. Realizing...

  • Only one name, has the power to stop the storm.
  • Only one Messiah can silence the roaring of the enemy trying to steal our hope.  
  • Only one God oversees every war.
  • Only One Father still loves all those mom's giving up their kids...All the children that live with the consequences of their family's sins.  
  • Only one Redeemer can heal the weak and helpless soul.  
  • Only one Lord rules over all principalities and rulers in this world.  
  • Only one God has dominion over the tide of emotions that can flood us when we least expect it...

So, I cry out to Him.

Then, turn on the worship music and praise Him.  In sickness and in health, I praise Him.  With worries, and doubts...I will praise Him.  Through every battle I face in a world wanting to tare away our hope...I will exalt Him...

For this morning, it was just thunder and lightening...

But there is a battle taking place.  In all of us...

Who or what will we lean on?  Who will we run to, cry out, cling to...when rain starts falling and lightening strikes the soul?


(Linking with Barbie)

When You Just Need To Turn Your Life Around

I am all alone.  It's a miracle. You too would "get it", if you had four kids and a husbands whose lives never stop.

Church calls me, and I cannot stay calm...inside four walls, with Jesus fading.  The corporate body, like a current in me, calling me to come and praise Him.

"Still" seeps in the thoughts of God, in the songs absorbing deep in my soul.  Church is finished, so I take the wheel and head back home.  Hoping to fill, those that wait me...

Because Jesus wasn't meant for walls, and meeting, and hiding in some church building.  His goodness was made for spreading, and pouring out, igniting a world awaiting Him.  For any true God, who chooses to reveal himself through His resurrection...There is no containing...

I drive up the hill and from the right of my eye, I feel an urging to take the longer, sight-seeing journey to where fields praise Him, clouds float in the heavens.  On a road not unfamiliar to my loud, bellowing praises from this heart refusing to stay silent.

It's a windy route, the scenic route, but a drive finding beauty in the journey....as much as the destination.

I look at the clock.  Time presses.  Baby wakes soon.  And I can't foresee using an extra three minutes to take the scenic route...when life waits for no one.

I stay on the straight and narrow.  For doesn't "life" tell us....the world often trying to convince us...The greatest things in life are found by "staying on the road", following the crowd to safe predictability?

I bend towards the seventy mile, multi-lane freeway, already feeling a hollowing from the dark paved streets and all the metal traps racing to no where.  I can almost feel the residue of heaven fading from my soul, for instead of gazing at His beauty....my eyes start spacing and this well-known freeway drive quickly turns my soul to "auto-pilot".

Following the crowd never stirs creativity. Finding yourself gridlocked in other people's thoughtless driving, never draws the God of the Universe in a way abandoned praise, and selfless prayers, down windy roads rejuvenates the soul can.

My mind drifts to the weaving, winding road that often gifts me with cows, birds, and sometimes deer.  I miss the bellowing clouds drawing my eyes to heaven, and the old houses along there, that stir dreams inside me...of a deeper life, a richer time...when people didn't strive so hard....or live using "hurried" as badges equating to "importance".

Then slowly, the traps slow even more in their lanes.  For people following aimlessly...always come to a "halt", in time, eventually....don't they?  

I slow to a creeping. And the vehicles I'm following lead to an even slower stilling. Until I'm locked between cars and I just want to exit from this madness.

Like in real life?  Maybe.

Lanes lead to a dead stop.  And the cement drowns me in thoughts of, "why didn't I obey that still small voice?"  If I did, right now I would be singing praises to open skies instead of cursing the cars around me, trapping me in traffic that isn't moving.  Here where there is nothing to look at, but angry people, and man-made vehicles that never exuberant praise and worship...At least from my mouth.

Then, I see an out.  Over four lanes, a road leading out and down.  I squeeze in....because desperate people do desperate things.  And because living in Seattle has taught me you must fight for things...things you are in need of...

Even if it means escaping the straight and narrow thinking of a world going nowhere.

I make the exit, barely.  Now going, who-knows-where.  Still, thrilled for escaping this sufficating traffic.

I think now about how I wasted so much time in the following.  How disobedience, even to that small voice often leads us to our deficit, slowing us further from the places God wants to take us...even if that road is windy, and the journey is timely or makes no sense at all...

Down and away I keep driving from those metal contraptios jammed on the freeway.  Taking in the trees.  Thankful for the farmlands I pass...on this road still going to nowhere.

But then, I find it.  Was it happenstance?  Was it chance?  The road I detour on drops straight into the very same valley road God whispered for me to take, in the first place.

I can hardly believe it.  My journey of disobedience, the detour I took due to "logic" and from a place of my worrisome "need to's"....took me back to the same open road God had called me on originally.

And I wonder if it's true...

  • When you are a Christian...all roads really do lead home. 
  • Any detour really will direct you to the very same path God had for you in the first place.  
  • That even disobedience never truly ever can...pull you away from the call of God. 
  • And in His Still Small Voice...there is always a plan...if we are silent enough, humble enough to listen...

Have you taken a detour?  Are you following the crowd?  Has the road you are on only leading you to crowds, and traffic, and all kinds of noise you were not expecting?

Well friends, today I want to encourage you.  It's not hard.  Grab the wheel, and make the decision to turn your life around. In Christ their is only grace, no ridicule or condemnation.

God always has a plan.  And that plan includes keeping you on the beautiful, glorious journey He originally planned for you.

Will you listen?  Will you follow where He is leading?  Will you fill your life with praise...instead of sticking on "cruise control" and just following an ever con-jested crowd?

Can't you almost, look to the right....see the open fields, swaying hay dancing in the breeze?  The bright and morning sun, piercing through the puffy clouds?  The road turning and winding while you sit back, feeling the breeze, with the top of your car off?  Breathing it all in...

Because sometimes, life is about the listening to His still, small voice, going where He leads, and absorbing the fullness of His goodness, while praising Him in the journey....

Don't you think?

UNITE Link Party
 
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Writer or Not....You Were Not Made to be Invisible

I blogged for years.  Anonymous. No name.  No blog tied to my Facebook.

Just words, bubbling forth. Deep from the soul.  Uncoated.  Untamed.  Fearless. Real.


And now, there is a name, Jen Avellaneda.  The name I'd always hidden from.  Run from. Unowned, because I never wanted to be seen or known....by anyone...

Let alone the millions on the world wide web.

And yet, it was when a close friend found me. When little by little, people close to me began opening up these words scratched fast from the core of my being...

I hide from my writer's mind.  Put up a shield, started to dumb down my thoughts, and quickly turned to be what others expected of me...

Instead of being me.

Can you relate?  Please tell me, "yes"...the urge to please, to be all that you have been asked to be tugs at your heart too sometimes. 

And yet, as I molded, formed, softened, and curled up in the home of what others said I, "should be"...I lost my voice.  The power to tap into my feelings, pour out in words this authenticity inside me...

Being real in a way that heals the wounded soul.

For a writer mind is different, not like the rest of the world.  Where others separate thinking and feeling...a writer's mind is like a ball of colored thread all intertwined....thoughts, feelings, ideas, passions, intellectualisms....

And the more we hide, the more we keep that tape of doubt over the mouths of our voices...the more we start to die...little by little...one thought at a time.

See, writing deciphers thoughts and reality, hope and concern, faith and insecurities.  Writing is more than our words, but our eyes that see who we are.  It's the step we move forward from, one word at a time....

And there are those that say, "do", "be", "go"....but a writer knows, we must see with the vision the Lord has given us first. Then, through those words, we can move forward...

And, aren't we all just tired of empty religion, noisy chatter, scattered business....words typed for fame, without any heart or passion behind them?

And don't we all want faith.  Faith that not only says...but does.  Faith that moves forward....faith that truly loves?

And I have hidden that kind of faith, lately.  Bold faith.  In your face, fearlessly un-doubting faith. 
Faith that doesn't apologize or hold back.  Faith that changes lives...

Because in this world we live in we will have trouble....but true faith, the action calling others forth from a true writer, will always change the world...

And I have learned in my quiet complacency...doubt has no sons or daughters.  Only gravestones to point at and take pictures of...

But, we are of a generation that doesn't want to stand, staring at immoveable objects.  We won't settle for people blabbing about "how to", "when to" take real action...

We are a people that doesn't hold back because we fear "man" sitting at the other end of the screen criticizing.  We don't cower, withdraw, or question who we are because other people can see us.

Yes, we see....and we know...love has the power to change the world.

So, what is your voice today?  How has God called you to stand up, get out, and impact the world with the love of Jesus?

Have you been like me?  Apologizing?  Silencing your voice because you question your identity, or fear other people?

And though the enemy wants to keep you, closed up, locked up, trembling in fear, making you feel inadequate....

God has called you to rise!  Rise and serve those He loves.  Rise to be the wife, or mother, or friend others need in the world today.  He has called all of us to live fearlessly declaring His name....

Because it's true, despite what others tell you....His people were each, given a new name.  A name and a face, and a place to live free as children of a God without shame...

What is your name today friend?  How can you use your place in this world to share His great and glorious name?

For regardless of what calamities strike the world, the doubt, or fear you might be feeling...one thing is guaranteed.... 

You were never made to be invisible.

When Faith Looks Like a Leopard Print Dress for a Girl I've Never Met

Faith is the assurance of things unseen...

I had been feeling the tugging at the core of my being. Seen it on the horizon.  Had dreams that the crib we leave open for foster children wasn't going to be empty for too long.

My mind saw no name, or age, or date...but my spirit saw a face.  And sometimes the pictures in our sleep are more real than the information any logical mind can keep.

And though some are born in womb...others are born in thoughts and heart....long before their physical form is standing before our human eyes.


A cream, and black, and hot pink dress dangles from the racks of a second hand store. I have just braved past my fears (and my OCD) to shop consignment.  Because kids grow quick and one thing I have learned over the years...we are not rich.

"Size 8".  Not one wrinkle, brand new, looking perfectly pressed....a little big, but soon it should fit for my 7 yr old daughter. 

And then, I float past other sizes, until there, a matching dress, also brand new, size 24 months catches my eyes.  And I cannot move on.  

Our last placement was only 3 months old, the one before that 11 yrs old. So, 24 months?  In my wildest dreams, I could never imagine a toddler.  And with a million ages, and sizes, who ever guesses which child will comes next and what size she will wear.

Still, faith demands more than standing in the isles contemplating and debating, wondering and dreaming.  True faith requires spending what we have to grab a hold of the unseen, the things we are sure of....yet, our physical eyes have yet to see it...

I tiptoe to the counter to double check the prices.  I look to my husband when the store clerk announces $4.95 each....Way cheaper than the price tag's listing them.

He nods.  Yet, I can tell...he's understandably curious and skeptical as to why we are buying a dress for a child we've never met.

Both dresses sit in our closet.  Weeks pass. Months.  And I don't feel any prompting to take a child from placement as I scroll the countless posting daily of children needing homes from my e-mailing listing.

So, I wait.  And wait.  Because often there is waiting...much waiting...much trusting before the "seeing" of things sent from heaven. 

But then, I feel it, see her face in my dreams more clearly.  I get a call, and I know that I know, this is the child we are supposed to welcome with the love of Jesus. 

She is 15 months old. The same Asian eyes I had seen while sleeping a few nights earlier.  Yet, this child comes with work, and faith, and grace abundant....as we struggle, and cling through abandonment, neglect, serious trauma that we still have yet, to understand completely.  

And just when the waters calm. When Easter comes lurking around the corner, with it's hopes of the resurrection, promised freedom, and faith and hope in a God who sits no longer in the grave of His affliction...I dig through the closet to find something for the girls to wear on this one, very special day of the year.

"Oh ya", The fluffy bottoms of one dress, then another, calls me from the closet. I had forgotten I had even bought them. But even there, smack dab, in the middle of the evidence of a God who sees tomorrows happenings, even before we have witnessed them.....

There, my rational mind does what it does best, analyzes with skepticism, "No, there is no way these both could fit".

I try the size 8 on my now, nearly eight year old daughter.  "Perfect". And then, cautiously, optimistically, someone speechless I fasten the buttons and tie the bow to this little one who stands before me..."Exactly the right size for our 'healthy' little foster child."

And sometimes, I think faith is like that. God calling us to "take faith-steps" long before we see the full picture, before we can hold the end result, well-dressed, of His newness, in our arms.

He calls us to trust the closing our eyes, Spirit of the Living God...long before we can touch and tangibly see the wholeness of a picture God painted for our lives, long before we know or could anticipate where He is leading us.

A year prior, at the same store, a random isle, a small shirt was out of place with the words "grace" embroidered thick on across it's chest.

My mind argued with the purchase.  And logic won against any prompting to buy a $3.00 shirt that I totally couldn't see wanting or needing at the time.

Yet, today, I hold the child that could have been wearing a shirt announcing "grace" to all who meet her. 

And isn't that the way it is with us...

Sometimes we miss "grace" because we are so busy, working so hard, trying to make sense of it all....longing to touch the evidence before we can justify purchasing things we don't see?

So today friends, will you join me, in seeing with the eyes God's given us?  Can we step out believing...faith doesn't have to "make sense" before we move towards it obediently, with fear and trepidation?  Will we risk our ego, our purposes, and even our reputations for a God who has more than "safe journeys", "logical callings", "sensible journeys" for us....ones we can do effortlessly, without the help of God?

Where is God calling your heart to trust Him today? Where is He asking you to "take steps" even though you may not yet see the full staircase?  How can we all be convicted that the reality of the things not seen, the heavenly things, are actually more real that those things that we can touch our feel?

"Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]." ~  Hebrews 11:1 Amp

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Feel like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz?



Ever feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, caught up in a whirlwind of business

I step on the soil in Dominic Republic.  Off the grid; no running water, only a short time each day on a
generator with electricity; dust and dirt everywhere. 

Still, somehow I settle into a peace I have desperately needed.

We take cold, bucket baths behind resurrected steel; poured down like grace, washing away our filth.  And I am reminded by this awakening….

His mercies are new every morning, regardless of where we live.

And yet somehow I miss those promises back home, where I carelessly wasted resources, failing to let grace wash over me thinking, for some reason, I couldn’t be dirty…simply because I could not see my own filth.

It is there, dark glasses hinder me from acknowledging the light of an abundantly blessed culture, and I miss thanksgiving, though I have so much to be thankful for.

Yet in Dominican, I seem to live wearing proverbial glasses of gratefulness; though water is cold, food scarce, poverty lurks, and my resources are lacking in every sense of the word. 

And why is it, sometimes, our deficits reveal our need for God, our necessity for other people?

At night in DR.....

Today, I am over here, writing about Colliding with Stillness with some of the most humble, missions-minded women.  (Join my, here to read the rest of this article.)


(Linking with Barbie)
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