Well, hello!

IMG_7327Oh, hey!

Remember me?

I used to hang around here a lot. I’d occasionally write something, and then you all would respond. Sometimes, I posted pretty pictures. Any of that ringing a bell?

I’ll cut the antics and shoot you straight: My mom told me this morning that she looked at my blog yesterday. She said, “You haven’t written since October, I think!” Umm, try September, mom… Oops.

I have been super busy reading books and crackin’ skulls. Well, no skull cracking (ew?) but a lot of paper writing, and library visits, and late-night workouts with my trainer where I complain about how the undergrads in my classes are really bugging me and come on, when can I just start grad school? I haven’t even been reading blogs in the last few months. Instagram is starting to collect dust. It seems that blogging has just kind of… slipped out of my open hands. It’s lost some of it’s meaning or purpose… at least the meaning and purpose it used to hold for my life, which was that of connection and inspiration. There has been lot of offline connection, and as I’ve written about this year following my trip to ALT in January, a lot of disenchantment with bloggers in general. I’m still inspired by many, but I’m not really in the market for blog-related inspiration these days. I’m still a loyal Joy the Baker follower, but that is about it (and also, who isn’t?).

So here is a bit of an update:

  • in September, I hosted an event at Madewell! It was super fun to meet so many of you, and to spend great time with my blog friends. Some of them even made a two-hour drive from up north to attend, which was awesome.
  • in October, I started my honors thesis, which is what has been eating up 99% of my time these days. I’m about halfway finished at this point…although the next half is going to take probably twice, if not three times as long as the first section. But at least I enjoy it!
  • in November, my amazing husband flew three of my best friends out to Colorado to celebrate my golden birthday (I turned 27 on the 27th) with me, which was INCREDIBLE. We had so much fun, and the party was super rowdy. It was, seriously, the best birthday I have ever had in my entire life!
  • in December, so far, we have been busy getting ready for our family to join us at our house for Christmas this year, and I’ve been finishing up finals. Tomorrow is the last day! I don’t know what I am going to do for the five weeks I have off, but I have a few ideas rollin’ around in my head to keep me occupied.

All around, it’s been an awesome few months. We’ve been spending a lot of time with our dear friends, and working hard to get more fit and healthy.

I don’t know what the future of Anne the Adventurer is. There may be the occasional blog post on a DIY or a party, and perhaps a few style posts, but I think that this space will be transitioning to more of a documentation of life – my life, life with my husband, and in future years, our growing family. Some of you may lose interest, but that is okay. I’m sorry to not be providing more of what you originally signed up for, but I do hope you stick around. I genuinely miss you all.  Well, not those of you who are creepers (you know who you are, creepers) but those of you who are lovely and authentic and awesome.

I miss writing, and maybe most importantly, reflecting and documenting the beauty in life, the things to be thankful for. It is so easy for me to get wrapped up in my own head. I’m getting better at this, though. Maybe I will post more over winter break, which would be really nice. And I’d really like to work on my photography skills, which are majorly lacking because I just haven’t been practicing. I hate to think that I’m interested in reviving this space because of the upcoming New Year vibes, but that is probably part of it. I guess that isn’t a bad thing entirely, but I just don’t want to lose steam. You know what I mean, right?

So let me know how you are doing, and let’s take all the pressure off ourselves and just show up as we are and share. Share life, share stories, share truth, share hope. How does that sound to you? Good? Because it sounds pretty damn swell to me.

XO


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Trouble Sleeping

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What do you guys do when your brain is reeling, and you can’t seem to focus or sleep well? I get this way every now and then. My brain is just too active with all the to do’s and concerns and stressors. I notice that when I get this way, I tend to want everything to be super orderly and structured, but what’s funny is that the thing that usually makes me feel better is genuine interaction with friends. Which is not orderly or structured, just loose and fun and relaxing.

The middle of the night when I’m tossing and turning isn’t usually conducive to hang out’s with friends, though, so I’ve had to be creative and learn about new resources that I can draw upon that make me feel better. Some of the things I’ve found have been wrapping up in a soft blanket or sweater (something about the softness calms my nervous system), getting up and writing so that my brain can find some solace in processing thoughts a bit, using meditation skills to ground myself, and applying essential oils like Rescue Remedy or doTerra’s Serenity and Balance.

What works for you?

 

Also, Amy Poehler on Sleep.

Love this article on Cup of Jo about sleeping tricks.

 

 

(Photo of Chelsea Petaja via Front and Main)


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A few random thoughts…

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Just wanted to pop in tonight with a few random thoughts (and a few random photos for good measure…). Things have been going really great around here. Starting school two weeks ago was a little bumpy, but I learned a lot and feel like this week, I really have my head in the right place.

Spencer and I talked for awhile tonight about contentment, and how to cultivate that contentment. We are both first-born, type A, super anxious people who can fret about the little things. I am someone who doesn’t take criticism well, and we both struggle to see other people struggle, especially our families and friends. How do we cultivate joy and contentment when we are so prone to worry? we asked ourselves. I think sometimes that means we need to step back a bit to focus on our individual lives and our marriage – we need to be more intentional with our time. Also, sometimes joy and hope are choices that we have to purposefully make. I have learned so much about this in the last few months/year and so has my friend, Kim. Her post on choosing joy from today is a must read. I am so proud to call her my friend.

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Processed with VSCOcam with s1 presetWe had fun at LizzyPancake’s wedding!

I have made some big choices for school that will mean I am going to be super busy these next few months. I can’t share with you the details yet, but I will when I can :) But never mind the details – I had a realization today that I am so happy with what I spend my days doing. I love studying and research, and I know that I will sound like a big nerd, but reading dozens of books about the Puritans these last few months (and the next few months) has been the most fun/content I’ve had/been in years. I am so happy that I have some focus in what I want to do with my career. It’s such a relief to feel content.

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Spencer is napping, and I’m worried he might be getting a migraine so I just rubbed some doTerra peppermint essential oil that I got from my lovely friend Heather on his temples, and I hope that he’ll get up in an hour and be ready for some fun. I’m going to post this, and then do a bit more homework before preparing dinner. Then, I want to go for a walk, and watch the documentary Somm with Spencer before we go and try to see the northern lights tonight! I really hope that we can!

What are you guys up to this weekend? Hope something fun and lovely. XO


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Learning How to Love Freely

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Yesterday, I started fall semester at school, and it’s been a whirlwind already. It’s only Tuesday, but it feels like Friday. Yeah, one of those weeks. I’ve been anxious and irritated, and yesterday, I sat in my spot in the stacks for a long time journaling, trying to figure out why I was feeling so negative about something that I love so much: school.

Today, I woke up early (5am is a slap in the face!) and was feeling chipper and happy. I got to school at 7am, and it was so quiet. I loved it. It was such a shock yesterday after the mellow vibe of summer school in Boulder to have all 30,000 CU students back all at once. So, this morning I learned that early morning at school is the best time to be there. But in the back of my mind was this gnawing feeling that the serenity would only last so long, that “the students” (like they’re a collective monster) were waiting in the wings, about to pounce around 9 or 10. By 11am, I was back in irritation station. I barely made it through my last class, and when I got to the gym at 2, I broke down in tears. This is not how I want school to go/be/feel.

So, where is this negativity coming from? I can tell that I am so irritated by the community at school, with the apathetic attitude. Now, of course, not everyone fits into this massive generalization I am laying out before you, but I have encountered student apathy in the classroom way more often than I’d like to.

Why would anyone skip class when they’re paying thousands of dollars to be there? Why would you not do the work? Why isn’t school important or valued amongst these students I’ve encountered? I’ll say it again – I realize that I’m making a generalization. And I also realize that when I was 19, I skipped class and didn’t do the work and didn’t value school as much as I do now. We can get that off the table. I know that I have age and experience on my side when it comes to my work ethic being more developed. But I am so distracted by the apathy, by the bad attitudes, by the stark contrast in the values I hold and the values the community holds. It’s hard to get work done with this irritation shuddering through me in this frenetic, uncomfortable way.

I feel like I am being put through a test. Maybe not a test, but I am sure as hell doing some good learning. I have been making mistakes in how I treat people almost all of my waking hours these last two days of school, and I am learning a lot about compassion and patience. I prayed for so long yesterday that I would learn how to love people as God does – unconditionally. I will always fall short since I am not omniscient and am not able to know everyone’s full story or able to understand the depths of their emotions or experiences, as the Spirit does, but I want so desperately to be someone who LOVES people. Like, really, really loves people.

I have such a short supply of patience and I have such high expectations for people. I scrutinize unfairly, I make snap judgments, and I label people without a filter – idiot, stoner, floozey, ignorant, apathetic, rude, selfish, mean. I am owning up to a lot of (pardon me) shit right now. And I am doing that because, honestly, I am so sick of being like this. I know that we all do this sort of thing in some measure, but I know that I have these habits or engage in these behaviors because I used to be bullied as a kid. I was bullied so I became a bully. And that defensive strategy never really went away, but I don’t need it anymore! I am an adult, and a confident one at that. And the more I learn about myself, the more confident I become that God set me apart and I am fine the way I am.

I am starting to have my eyes opened to the fact that loving others is SO hard, but it’s a little easier the more we love ourselves. Think about it, why would we be so judgmental or defensively rude to someone if we fully loved ourselves? And I don’t mean vanity or narcissism, I mean knowing the fullness of our worth. Why would there be any reason to deny someone love if we knew how great love is? I think the only reason I deny loving others is because I lack love myself. At the end of the day, it’s about security, safety, and faith.

My love of learning – it is such a gift. God saw this talent in me, this beautiful intellect that I’ve been given, and blessed me by cultivating it through the opportunity to go back to school. I don’t want it to be soured by a bad attitude. If I could go anywhere in the world – Yale, Notre Dame, Harvard, Stanford, Michigan – would I go there? I am tempted to say yes because the classroom environments might be more focused, but I would always be lacking something. Friendships, which I have here, closeness to family, which I have here, a great job for my husband, which we have here…  It’s temping to say “If only this or that were different, I’d be happier/nicer/less irritable” but it’s just not true. Our demons follow us, and there will always be loads of difficult people to love.

This semester, I have three goals: to get straight A’s, to continue getting healthier and more fit, and to make 2 new friends at school. The underlying prayer behind all of this though is this: Spirit, help me to love people as you love them – wholly and unconditionally, and help me to be free with kindness, to be full of hope, and rich in compassion – for myself and for others.


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Thoughts on Mental Health and Feelings of Desperation…

I heard this song by Passenger via NPR a few weeks ago. It’s about a real life man who Mike Rosenberg (of Passenger) met in Minnesota one night when he went out to buy cigarettes. The man was on his way to his family’s home, and he was riding across the United States on a motorcycle. It would be his last act – he had been diagnosed with cancer, and wanted to live out the rest of his days with his family.

The song doesn’t have much to do with what I’m writing about today, other than that it was inspiration enough for Rosenberg to stop smoking, and it made me think about choices we all can make to prevent early death or sickness or abusive experiences in our own lives, and instead live full, healthy, long lives.

In light of Robin Williams’ suicide last week, I have been thinking a lot about mental health in the last few days. The people I know who have taken their own lives, and the people I don’t know who have. My friend Julie who somewhat took her own life when her struggle with an eating disorder put her into her second diabetic coma, one she didn’t wake up from. My dear professor Dr. H whose struggle with bipolar disorder led him to take his own life in April. Other family friends… and then there are those who I don’t know but you do. You know their stories. I’m sure you have friends who struggle with self-harm. Maybe you struggle yourself.

While I have never been compelled to self-harm or have had suicidal thoughts myself, I have experienced depression and anxiety. I know what it is like under those dark, heavy clouds, when you feel like you can’t breathe and life just seems scary and unmanageable. I’ve felt numb and I’ve felt desperate. I’ve felt electrocuted with intense emotion that takes all of the bravery out of my lungs. During those times, I’ve turned and run, if not outright sprinted, to my doctor and my therapist and my husband. I have told them that I will tell them all of my secrets, read every journal, answer all of their questions if they will just help me not feel this way anymore. I’ve left practitioners behind who’ve shamed me, and I’ve clung close to the ones who have been my unwavering advocates. And I’ve felt the relief of coming out of the depression cloud, and I know what it’s like to be on the other side.

The thing about mental health is – whether it’s depression or really public suicides like Robin Williams’ or mass shootings or close family/friend deaths – our society really struggles to talk about it. The conversation likes to dwindle, and I’m sure there are a lot of reasons as to why that sociologists a lot smarter than me could tell you about but I’m guessing a lot of it has to do with fear of inadequacy or feeling of shame and weakness. Not wanting to be misunderstood. Not wanting to be fired or let go or demoted if you’re really honest about your struggle. Not wanting your spouse to think less of you, or not wanting to even admit it to yourself because it’s just so damn scary. And maybe even that you or others you know have tried so hard to get help, but it just didn’t work. Or “stick.” That’s how it was with Julie. And Dr. H.

I am not a professional, and I don’t have the answers. Like I said, I don’t know all the reasons behind why the U.S seems to be plagued with mass violence and depression/anxiety struggles. But I believe that this little blog can make a big difference, even if it is just in one life. And with that belief comes the duty to speak out about resources and hope and health in hopes that if any of you are struggling yourself or struggling to support someone, that you know where to go.

Robin Williams’ death is so tragic because he was such a big talent and inspired so many. But I know that for me, personally, Dr. H was a big talent and he inspired so many. Not very many people knew him or of him, but he still affected a lot of people. And that is the same for your life and for your loved ones who may be struggling. Your life matters in HUGE ways. Not many people may know you or of you, but that doesn’t matter. Dr. H matters way more to me than Robin Williams because I knew him personally. And it’s the same with each of us. Mental health affects all of us, no matter who we are. And I think it’s important that we are reminded daily that we are valuable. We are worthy. We have reason for hope. We are capable of amazing things. The world needs us. Our stories matter.

If you or someone you know is struggling, please consider the following resources and inform yourself. Get help. Start the dialogue and the road to health. Lean on hope.

-To Write Love On Her Arms connects people to treatment and sources of help. They have a long list of resources on their ‘Get Help’ page.

-National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

-Veterans Crisis Line

Other resources may include a local church or religious organization, your university or school health clinic, a local protection agency like a firefighter’s station (which are often registered safe havens for those escaping abusive situations) or police station.

I’ll leave you with words from Dr. H from a time when I was feeling anxious and needed encouragement:

There are those of us who are overwhelmed with anxiety because we may feel we will disappoint others or ourselves. We might feel that we will fail and that the failure will shame us. Or we might feel we are simply not prepared enough or good enough or smart enough. The truth is all of the above fears are unfounded. Failure is not the end of the world, it is the beginning of understanding and knowledge. People who love us will not be disappointed by our failures, they are more likely to want to help us review the experience, process it and help us in moving on from it.

I am praying today that all of you know your worth, and that all of you find relief and comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone.


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Let’s Party at Madewell on Friday!

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Hey! Guys! Guess what?

I’m co-hosting Madewell Boulder’s One-Year Anniversary Party on Friday, and I want you to be there!

You know that I have been focusing on the idea that we are all made well in the last few months. We are strong, brave, vulnerable, beautiful individuals whose stories matter. And so when Madewell Boulder asked me to partner with them to celebrate their one year anniversary, I jumped at the opportunity. Here is a moment where women will be gathered together to shop, sip, snack, and meet new people, and I wanted the evening to be about self-love instead of self-hate. You know how easy it is when we’re shopping to pick clothes that we feel forced to fit our body into rather than choosing clothes that will fit our body? Or to go to a party where we feel like we aren’t fashionable enough, funny enough, engaging enough – just plain not enough. Let’s leave that at the door on Friday. You’re enough, right now. Let’s just have some fun!

There will be bubbles to sip on, snacks, and I’ll be doing some personal styling! There will also be a chance to win a $100 gift card just because you showed up – you don’t even need to buy anything! More than anything, I’m excited to chat with y’all and share the authentic love that we are all our best when we are truly ourselves. So, come as you are!

If you can, please RSVP via the Facebook event so we know to expect you!

Can’t wait! XO.


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“Be Here Now”

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Tonight is our last night in Vail, and I have been thinking through a lot while we’ve been up here. I decided today that I really needed to unplug for the rest of the weekend so that I can work on being in the present moment, but I felt the itch to write and get some things off my chest. So here we are.

I first heard the phrase “Be here now…” on my freshman backpacking trip in college. We spent 12 days or so in the wilderness, and we were encouraged from minute one to try our best to not think so much about home or the upcoming school year or the past/future, but to really be in the present moment. It seemed like such a simple concept at the time, and frankly, with the excitement of the trip, I don’t recall it being too hard. New friends, new adventures. There were times, of course, when I thought about home and my family and got a little anxious, but for the most part, I was able to unwind and just be. I think it’s really important for me to remember that this was before iPhones, or smart phones in general. I had a flip phone, and I left it in my suitcase back at school. I didn’t have an iPod, and even if I did, they wouldn’t have had wifi capabilities back then. Not that there would have been wifi. There was just not as many ways to connect with the outside world.

It’s so much harder now. We are so, so connected. It’s taking so much of my energy right now not to check Facebook or my email as I type this. It’s a little unnerving how addicted I am. Spencer told me on our walk today (sans phones-ish, we took one picture) that he is disappointed with how addicted he is, too. We just didn’t used to be this way, and I am not sure how to go back.

Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t stop thinking about Instagram and blogging and Pinterest… the works. I was thinking about all the bloggers I wish I could be friends with, who I wish cared about my work. As if it’s high school popularity contests all over again. I was feeling angry at how fickle my Instagram followers are, especially now that I’m noticing more trends. I see a gain in followers when I post outfit photos and a loss in followers when I post pictures of my family – frankly, my honest, authentic, real daily life. And it really makes me angry! I can’t help but feel hurt when people seem bored with the parts of life that are the most important to me.

I think all of this comes down to wanting to be seen. Seen as in valued and appreciated.

I’m starting to believe that my desire to stay connected is out of a need for affirmation. I feel anxious without it – because I don’t have enough of it within myself. I long for those relationships with other writers, for followers, for notoriety – because I’m craving love.

This is such a hard battle, isn’t it? I believe it all goes back to this ancestral, primordial, mysterious human experience of doubt and fear. Why do we doubt ourselves? For me, it has to be a spiritual reason.

Self-love and contentment are strenuous paths. But here I sit, overlooking the pool, watching these two boys play for hours and hours without a care in the world, and I wonder how it is that they make it look so easy. When is it that the switch flipped? How do I switch it back?

With all of this said, my phone is back in the room, and it’s turned off. After I post this, the computer will be turned off, too. I want to wait until Monday morning to check my phone or anything related to social media. I want to reflect on what I’m learning, and live in the present moment. And I’d encourage you to do to the same. As always, this is about the “me too” attitude. I want to know your thoughts and hopes and wins and setbacks. Let’s learn together. See you on Monday

XO.

 


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This is truth.

I don’t need to say anything about this amazing video by spoken word poet Madiha Bhatti. Just watch, and be inspired.


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Will a baby ruin my life?

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Did you ever see the movie Baby Boom with Diane Keaton? It was one of those ’80s movies that my mom had on every now and then when we were kids. It was actually one of my favorite movies growing up. It is funny and sweet and there is a really cute baby. It’s all about Diane Keaton’s character, J.C., figuring out how to live her life when she is given custody of her cousin’s baby after they died in a tragic accident. She is this power suit, classic 80s stereotype successful working woman in New York City, and she just loses it, like completely melts down when this kid enters her life. She weighs the baby in the grocery store produce section to figure out what diapers to buy. She can’t find childcare. She doesn’t sleep. Her boyfriend leaves her. So she quits her job, buys an idyllic house in New England, and thinks life will be just like a postcard. Except the house is falling apart, and she doesn’t know a soul in the small-town she moved to. This movie is all about her finding her balance, and realizing that she is both a mom and a career woman. She loves both.

This movie popped into my head this morning when I was reflecting on this post by my friend Marri of Werewolf Jesus. A few days ago, she posted the most beautiful letter to her unborn daughter, which was written just a few days after she found out she was pregnant. Marri and I are kindred spirits or something, because most everything she writes just jabs me in my core. I’m usually in tears by the end of her posts on faith. They’re so poignant. This letter was no exception. She voiced so many fears I have, as well as so many hopes I have. It really left an impact on me. I just cannot stop thinking about this letter.

The main point in this letter? Choose love over fear.

Choose love, always. I try so, so hard to do this, but fear always creeps back in like some nasty, annoying pest. I guess that is what this life is all about, right? Life is simply a journey of choosing love – every second of every minute of every day until we die. We have to choose it.

I make a lot of choices in my life out of fear. I chose not to study abroad in Italy out of fear that my anxiety would make the trip unbearable. I chose to leave the college where I did my BA, then go back, then leave again, then go back again – all out of fear that my relationship with Spencer would never survive long distance. I have chosen many times to stop blogging for days, weeks, months at a time out of fear that I’d be found to be a fraud. So much fear – so many bad choices.

And one of my biggest fears right now is (and please don’t be offended when I say this, I am just being honest) that having a kid will ruin my life. I mean, just ruin the whole damn thing. I’m afraid that the child will take all of my time away from school, from my husband, from being healthy and staying fit, from creativity, from my friends. I’m afraid that my child will displace me in my relationship with my parents, as silly as that sounds. I’m afraid that having a child will tear my marriage apart. Our finances apart. Literally, my body apart. I’m afraid that I won’t ever get my master’s, let alone my PhD. That I won’t ever be able to teach, or get jobs that I’m qualified for because I can’t manage my time, or that employers will discriminate in hiring me because I have kids. I’m afraid I won’t write a book.

I’m afraid I won’t be me anymore.

So many of you reading this are moms. Some of you are new mamas, some of you are grandmamas. Can I ask you to refrain from telling me not to be afraid? The don’t‘s and the should’s and the You’ll be fine‘s feel kind of, sort of like you’re not listening. I read your blogs. I know that being a mom is both wonderful and challenging. I read the posts about throw-up and how your kids are best friends and all of the alter call’s to natural births. I see your ethereal photos of your children running in a field of wildflowers. I know about how cute babies are in mini-moccasins. As much as throw-up and poop on my hands and mastitis sounds like the worst, and of course I don’t want a drugged up baby when it’s born (but HELLO! it’s freaking childbirth for god’s sake, fix me up a cocktail now), I still want a baby. And I hear you. I listen to your stories. So, please, please I beg of you, listen to mine. Please don’t write me off as some sort of crazed feminist. Instead of the have to‘s and the must‘s and all of the gobs of pressure of not wanting the mommy brigade to attack me, what I’m hoping for is a whole lot of me too-ing. Did you feel this way before you had kids? Because I kind of feel like a terrible human to say all of those things out loud.

The thing that struck me most about Marri’s post is that not only did she admit that she has these worries too, but that she is choosing love over fear. She writes:

I chose to believe that He does not lead His children into destruction. That when I walk with Him, my deep desires are GOOD and GLORIFYING. I chose to believe that you are a gift – a benefit, not a sacrifice. I chose to ignore those mommy-bloggers who told me you’d make my life harder and suck my joy and my time and my marriage. I chose to believe that I was worth more than many sparrows and that an omniscient God could work all of these things for good. I chose to believe in my calling and the strength of His plans for me. I chose to believe that you’d not only allow for this book, but that you’d be an asset. I chose to believe that you – with your weird, baby powers, would make me more creative and organized than ever. That my joy in your life would overflow into my book, giving me that surge of inspiration to cross the finish line.

I know it in my head, but sometimes it’s just hard to believe in my heart that a child would be a gift, a benefit, an assetThat by believing that God won’t lead me into a destructive place, I will actually be able to have the freedom to live a life that is more me. That the joy this path could bring me might actually bring more love and less fear, more motivation and less apathy, more desire and less passivity. I don’t know the plans that God has for me, but whether or not it includes kids, I want to live today with love. And not fear.

I don’t know what timeline I’m on for kids. And I don’t really care. Marri’s reminder to choose love, always is something I can do today, and frankly, all I have is today anyway. I’m a planner, but living in the present moment brings so much more peace to my life than any amount of timelines and to do list’s promise me (they’re always empty promises).

Anyway, back to Diane Keaton and Baby Boom. While it was comical and timely for the decade to see her crash and burn while she juggled life to “have it all” – I think this a real life thing that all of us women experience, especially Gen X and Y because we were raised in such a perfectionist, “You can do it all!” world. We carry a lot on our shoulders, and the mere image in my head of me writing my doctoral dissertation while breast feeding kind of seems absurd. But God instilled a desire for both things in my head, and why would he have done that if it was only for absurdity’s sake?

I don’t know how to end this post?

How about with a bit of Mumford and Sons? Hats of to Marri for remember this song – it’s one of my favs:


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