Posts filed under ‘Susan’s World’

Philosophy of Life Hasn’t Changed in 9 Years

Last Sunday I preached at church on my life verse. As I was preparing for the sermon I remembered that sometime ago I had written about it on my blog. I did a little research and found that in 2008 I was tagged to define my philosophy using only 6 words.

Here is that first post, 6 Words That Define Philosophy of Life. In thinking about this topic, I first I came up with ideas that others might have used.

Jesus could have used one of the following as His 6 word philosophy . . . 

  1. The Father and I are One.
  2. Greatness? Humble servant, always obedient.
  3. I always do the Father’s will.
  4. My life, for yours, for eternity.

Augustine might have had the following as his philosophy … Desire what I know God desires.

And finally The Westminster Larger Catechism says . . . Glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Then I wrote a post about coming up with my philosophy, My 6 Word Philosophy of Life Brings Perspective. Can you guess how many tries it took to narrow it down to 6 words that I WANT to base my life on? It only took 12 tries. Go read this post to see what my progression was. And to see what my life verse is!

Your Turn . . .  Have you ever taken time to narrow down your philosophy of life? If you have, can you connect it with a verse in the Bible? . . . If you haven’t done either, I encourage you to do so and then share it with us. . . . If you’ve already done it, share it with us.

Related Post . . . I ended this concentrated thinking time by writing this post, 11 Generations Participate in 6 Word Philosophy of Life Meme.  It was interesting to see how this chain started and where it went.

Why don’t you continue this chain by answering and then tagging some folks to answer? Let’s get this meme going again. This kind of reflection is good for us.

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Checking Your Heart for Leaf Scars

Gazillions of leaves are falling . . .
Into my yard.
On my roof.
Under my doormat (?).
All over my car.
In my outdoor glider.

One time a bunch even descended upon me (and in my shirt) as I left my house.

Why in the world are these leaves attacking me and others en masse?
Because it’s Autumn.

Technically, it’s because there is less sunlight and water, the tree stops making food and grows a seal which disconnects the leaf from the tree. This is a protective measure the tree “instinctively” makes in order to help itself survive the winter.

More in-depth answers are available to the autumn questions at kidzone. Also your kiddos will enjoy the following autumn projects like . . .

So what does all this have to do with anything relevant to my life as a Believer?

There are times in my life when it feels like autumn.
I lose my leaves, my sense of connection with my core, my energy. I shut down for a season. These leaves can be my composure, joy, temper, courage, integrity, commitments. I bet you can name some more.

A tree in this cycle is healthy. When I’m in this cycle, not so healthy.

It always happens when I move myself (not always intentionally) away from the light of the Son and water of the Word. If this goes on for a spell, a seal forms around my heart.

At the point where the stem of the leaf is attached to the tree, a special layer of cells develops and gradually severs the tissues that support the leaf.

In my heart, these layers are caused by fatigue, unbelief, anger, pain, fear, overload. And when I don’t regularly feed myself with truth, as found in God’s word, I lack the ability to take care of myself properly. I feel severed from God’s leading.*

When the leaf is finally blown off by the wind or falls from its own weight, it leaves behind a leaf scar.

I’ve got leaf scars! Too many are the result of my own choices.

But I am grateful that God is . . .

  • the Master of autumn and spring and every season.
  • stronger than any protective seal I allow to come between us.
  • constantly wooing me back into right relationship with Him, with others and with myself.

Sisters, if you are in an autumn season . . .

  • Drink some water – the Bible.
  • Sit in the Sun (Christ) for a bit.
  • Tell Him how you feel.
  • Ask for His help.
  • Dare to share with a friend what the layers are.
  • Seek prayer from others.
  • Unload your life.

It’s that simple. And it’s that hard.

Autumn is about positive, protective, preparation for winter. It’s good for a tree to drop its business all over – everywhere.

When our autumn means we protect ourselves from God, others, ourselves, and when it means we drop our business all over – everywhere, it means trouble. But it is trouble that has an answer.

Will you join me in believing that God really has the answers for a good life?

Let’s use this earthly autumn to see where our hearts are going dormant.

Your Turn . . . 

  • What are some of the layers you’re carrying around?
  • How may I encourage you?
  • Pray for you?
  • Call or email me if you’d like to talk privately.

Remember, It’s that simple. And it’s that hard.

But no matter how I feel, I am never severed, as a Believer, from His grace, love and mercy. Nor can I ever be snatched from His hand.

Related Posts . . .

NOTE: This is an updated post from 2006.

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Austen in August Reading Challenge 2017

 

You have a few days to sign up, so do NOW.

 

Which Jane Austen books have you read? I did this Austen in August challenge two years ago and read all the main Austen books. I want to participate again this year. I plan to reread at least one book and read several related books mentioned by Roof Beam Reader.

Click on the link to read the details – Austen In August: Year 5! (Call for Participants)There will be “giveaways, guest posts, and other shenanigans, all of which are meant to inspire a great, interactive event.” Doesn’t this sound like a tempting challenge? Sign up today. To share/discuss this challenge on Twitter and/or Facebook, use  #AustenInAugustRBR.

In a perfect world, my goal is to read the following.

 Your Turn . . . What Austen book is a must re-read? . . . Will you join us in this endeavor?
Related Posts . . .

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Simplicity Day Reminds Us of the “Simple” Life

Today is #National  Simplicity Day. When was the last time you looked to simplify your life in terms of goals, balance, meaning, and social media?

Answer the questions below to get you started on this reflection.

  • How balanced is your life between the various areas like sleep, work, and recreation?
  • Are you spending quality time with the important people in your life and on projects that advance you towards your goals/dreams?
  • Is your spiritual life a relationship that you cultivate?

GOALS

One of my goals for this summer is to finish unfinished projects. And one of these projects is decluttering. Yesterday, with the help of my daughter, I went through ALL of my clothes. I tried on everything and only kept what I really liked or loved. The rest is in the give-away pile.

I have given myself a month to mend (mainly shorten) the clothes that need it. Otherwise they, too, will be given away. And after a month, I will check to see what I’ve actually worn. My tentative goal is to do something like Project 333.

I still need to do more work in my closet. I am surprised at how many non-clothes items are in there. I am also surprised at how many scarves I have. Tons, I tell you, tons!

“My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions but in the fewness of my wants.” ~ J. Botherton

BALANCE

I tend to work too much. As a result I neglect the important people in my life. That is one reason I wrote a Summer Bucket List. I want to make sure I have friend-balance in my life. So far this summer I have done well with having “dates.” Read #4 for an update.

These non-romantic times have been fun. I’ve eaten, chatted, walked, viewed vacation photos, and crafted. It may seem weird to some to have to schedule in dates, but I am finding that works for me.

MEANING

One thing that gives meaning to my life is a relationship with God. I want to and need to spend daily time reading and meditating on Scripture. I need to and want to spend time talking and listening to God. And finally I need to and want to spend time at church and with the people of the church. This type of focus keeps me maturing and balanced.

Also to add meaning to my life, I am thinking about what’s important to me. I am listening to an audiobook, Thrive. Arianna Huffington wants us to consider four areas to get back to living a life that counts: wonder, giving, wisdom, and wellness. I want to focus on these as well.

Joelle from 21 Delights wrote a list (of 21 things) that brings meaning to her life. Her top 10 are as follows … her husband … her children … her relationship with the Divine … Her extended family … witnessing goodness … life stories … friendship … solitude … Music … and art. Go here to read the complete list and post about why she wrote it.

I haven’t written such a list yet. What would your list include? What do you want to do more of? Less of? Read how a STOP DOING list is helpful.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media use can, at times, consume way too much of my time. I go on for just a quick minute. And then an hour later I am still on there. I want to and need to declutter that area of my life, too.

 It’s good practice to look at your social media use the way you would closets full of stuff. Ask yourself: Am I using social media intentionally or out of habit? What benefits does it bring me, what are the trade-offs, and do I need to change anything? If I cut back on social media, how else do I want to use that time? ~ Ellen from Simplifying at Home: Living Better with Less

In conclusion, in honor of National Simplicity Day I am reading a real book and not something from social media. I am reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau. He was an advocate for living a life of simplicity. If you’ve read this book, what are your take-aways?

Your Turn . . .  How “simple” is you life? . . .  Where would you like to make a change in the areas of GOALS, BALANCE, MEANING and/or SOCIAL MEDIA?

Related Posts . . . Check out the article that was the brainchild of this post: NATIONAL SIMPLICITY DAY from the National Day Calendar website.

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Quotes from “A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman”

Do you have particular books you want to read this Summer? I do. My list is here. I just finished this book A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson. It is FULL of quotes I want to remember.

BE HAPPY WITH ME  

All is ripely quiet, and I lift my glass to me, a woman turned inside out, no longer wanting to become happy because, finally, I am.

“You mustn’t fret. There is no arriving, ever. It is all a continual becoming.”  (Joan erickson)

When I need centering, I sing a favorite hymn, “Spirit of God Descend Upon My Heart,” which also allows me to ease drop on my spirit and pick up on its mumblings. ·

 

HAVE FRIENDSHIPS THAT CAUSE ME TO GROW 

Every woman should have a mentor – not her mother, but someone who doesn’t have a stake in how she turns out, who encourages her to risk, who picks her up when she falls flat on her face. Joan prods, pokes, and coaxes me each time we’re together. ·

“Want to get into some trouble today?} What did you have in mind I ask, smiling at her devilishness. “Oh, I don’t know – just getting out and gathering up some experiences!” ·

 

BECOME WHOLE BY PAYING ATTENTION 

Of primary importance now is for me to retrieve the buried parts of me­-qualities like playfulness, vulnerability, being at home in my skin, using more of my instincts. Like so many pieces of a puzzle, I need to find a way to create the whole once again

I have learned to pay attention to my instincts and take notice when I feel anxious – to remove the pebble from my shoe before it blisters, get the chicken bone out of my throat – in short, to be mindful of feelings and emotions and work with them, not run from them.

Related Post . . . 8 Thoughts on Living Well  … What If The Wholesome Words Were Bleeped?

LAUGH MORE

What do you want? We usually answer with some material object. Imagine If we said something like a better state of mind, or togetherness, or simply to be surrounded by laughter.

Sitting here alone is satisfying enough, but the night would be far better if shared with another-with someone whose mood meets mine, who relishes moments, whose wonder remains untainted, who appreciates simple things and says so, who laughs much, indulges heartily, is spontaneous in spirit, is quick to embrace, and sees joy as a duty.

Related Posts . . . Finding Laughter – What I Learned From a Funny Friend … Laughter Quiz  Laughter Has My Gratitude

LIVE A FULL LIFE

I am no longer just passing through the world, but digging deep and collecting moments.

“Vital lives are about action,” Joan Erickson tells me. You can’t feel warmth unless you create it, can’t feel delight unless you play, can’t know serendipity unless you risk.” I’m trying to bring more of the spontaneous beach back to the cottage and incorporate it into my everyday life.

I must live a little each day, watch the sun as it rises and revel in its setting, swim naked, sip coffee and wine by the shore, generate new ideas, admire myself, talk to animals, meditate, laugh, risk adventures

Related  Posts . . . Live in the Day: a To-Do List … How 20 Wishes List from Fictional Book Helps Me Live Today … Do More Than Count Blessings, Be a Blessing

CHOOSE TO AGE WELL

Pam with Christmas Lights

“Why am I more cautious as I age instead of the other way around? I wonder if it’s all tied in to failure. I tend to forget my gains and remember only the losses. The failures have piled up, wreaking havoc with my confidence until, as an adult, I’ve become afraid to take chances.”

“I’m coming to see that life is not a lesser thing than I imagined it to be,” I say, thinking out loud just now. “Rather, it holds more than I have time to seize. The big secret is that everything doesn’t happen in youth.”

Related Posts . . . Singles Thanksgiving Bucket List … 3 Ways to Encourage Others Year Round … 16 Ways to Comfort Yourself

Your Turn . . .  

  • What quote from this book strikes you and why?
  • What’s on your summer reading list?

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Did I Read 58 Books Last Year? Summary of My 58th Year Challenge


I recently had a birthday, so it is time to evaluate how well I did on my birthday challenge.
I challenged myself to read 58 books because I was 58 years old last year. Did I meet that goal?

Turns out I was a reading fool! I read 111 books.

I’ve always loved books and last year I read differently.

  • I read series. In fact I read books from 8 series. The first series I’ve read to completion as an adult is The Mitford series by Jan Karon. Then I discovered Louise Penny, Shannon Stoker, Douglas Preston and James Patterson (to name a few). I don’t know why I went on a series binge, but it certainly was fun.
  • I finished some unfinished titles. I was able to read to completion four books that have been languishing in my to-finish pile. I am most proud of finishing Moby Dick. I really s-t-r-u-g-g-l-e-d with the first part of that book. Then when I picked it again last year, I LOVED reading it.  And I wondered why it took me so long to finish. The Imitation of Christ was such a deep read, I just couldn’t rush through it.
  • I discovered the Gilmore Girls reading list. I read 8 books from that diverse list last year. I plan on reading the 339 books that Rory read. So far I’ve read 82 books.
  • I am obsessed with yearlong quests. Several years ago I read Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Live as TV’s Most Influential Guru Advises. And I was hooked on this genre. This year I read three such books. The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life was my FAVE book in this category. And it is one I will reread so I can re-immerse myself in its helpful ideas.  This link has 12 ideas and I plan on reading from this list this 59th year.

Read the rest of the post to see the 111 titles and other categories.

Assorted Titles

  1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – I read and did the assignments with my daughter.
  2. Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Gratitude: 101 Stories about How Being Thankful Can Change Your Life by Amy Newmark and Deborah Norville
  3. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  4. Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews – I read this as an e-book while traveling in Taiwan.
  5. The Einstein Prophecy by Robert Masello – New author to me which I enjoyed a lot.
  6. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  7. The Good Life Lab: Radical experiments in Hands-On Living  by Wendy Tremayne
  8. Iscariot: A Novel of Judas by Tosca Lee – I want to read more books by this author.
  9. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones – This book has beautiful pictures and words
  10. Long Way Gone by Charles Martin – This is a title for the reread list.
  11. Miss Julia Inherits a Mess by Ann B. Ross (published this year-2016)
  12. One Memory At A Time: Inspiration & Advice for Writing Your Famiy History by D.G. Fulford
  13. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller
  14. The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty
  15. A Paris Apartment: A Novel by Michelle Gable – While reading this book I kept Googling historical events and people.
  16. Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind: The Life and Letters of an Irish Zen Saint by Maura O’Halloran
  17. Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation by Gabriele Oettingen
  18. The Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner
  19. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher – This is also a must reread. 
  20. A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller – I confess, this is not the fist time I’ve read this book.
  21. A Spy’s Guide to Thinking by John Braddock
  22. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
  23. Still Alice by Lisa Genova – Tears, and more tears as I read this book about Alice, a 50-year-old Harvard professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
  24. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson
  25. Thinner in 30: small changes that add up to big weight loss in just 30 days by Jenna Wolfe
  26. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battle by Steven Pressfield

Audio – I am not usually one who listens to books on tape. And I enjoyed doing this while walking or driving.

  1. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  3. Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel by Arthur Golden
  4. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  5. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Spears

Austen in August – This is the second time I participated in this yearly internet challenge.

  1. Emma: a Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith
  2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen

Book to Movie – So far, I’ve only seen one of these books as a movie. If you’ve seen these movies, which one(s) do you recommend?

  1. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  2. The Circle by Dave Eggers
  3. The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
  4. A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
  5. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ramsom Riggs
  6. Silence by Shusaku Endo

Gilmore Girls Book List – There are 339 books on this list. I read 8 of them this past year. Now the total # I’ve read is 82.

  1. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  2. Atonement by Ian McEwan
  3. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
  4. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  5. Deenie by Judy Blume
  6. Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
  7. S is for Silence by Sue Grafton
  8. Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett

Recommended – I got these ideas from friends, blogs, and Facebook.

  1. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilber
  2. Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World by Anthony Doerr
  3. The Chocolate Snowman Murders: A Chocoholic Mystery by JoAnna Carl
  4. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
  5. Lying Awake by Mark Salzman ]
  6. Moloka’i by Alan Brennert
  7. The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust by Edith H. Beer and Susan Dworkin
  8. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
  9. We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson

SERIES – I read books in EIGHT series this year 

One. Alexander McCall Smith: Isabel Dalhousie Series – I plan on reading all the books in this series. I started reading this because I found books #57 & 58 at the dollar store and loved them.

  1. The Careful Use of Compliments (book 4/11)
  2. The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (book 9/11)

Two. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child: Gideon Crew Series – Completed the series.

  1. The Ice Limit
  2. Gideon’s Sword
  3. Gideon’s  Corpse
  4. The Lost Island
  5. Beyond the Ice Limit

Three. James Patterson: Women’s Murder Club (books 1-9) – I plan on reading all the books in this series.

  1. 1st to Die
  2. 2nd Chance
  3. 3rd Degree
  4. 4th of July
  5. The 5th Horseman
  6. 6th Target
  7. 7th Heaven
  8. 8th Confession
  9. 9th Judgement

Four. Jan Karon: The Mitford Series (books 3-10) – This is the first series I read to completion as an adult. There are only two book series I read when younger (and again as an adult): Chronicles of Narnia and Anne of Green Gables.

  1. These High, Green Hills
  2. Out to Canaan
  3. A New Song
  4. A Common Life: the Wedding Story
  5. In This Mountain
  6. Fluke Light from Heaven
  7. Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good
  8. Come Rain or Come Shine

Five. Joanne Fluke: Hannah Swenson Mysteries with Recipes

  1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (book 1/21)
  2. Strawberry Shortcake Murder (book 2/21)
  3. Blueberry Muffin Murder (book 3/21_
  4. Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (book 4/21)
  5. Blackberry Pie Murder (book 17/21)
  6. Double Fudge Brownie Murder (book 18/21)
  7. Wedding Cake Murder (book 19/21)
  8. Christmas Caramel Murder (book 20/21)

Six. Justin Cronin: The Passage Trilogy

  1. The Passage (1/3)

Seven. Louise Penny: Chief Inspector Gamache Novels (books 1-11) – Completed the series and I wish there were more!

  1. Still Life
  2. A Fatal Grace
  3. The Cruelest Month
  4. A Rule Against Murder
  5. The Brutal Telling
  6. Bury Your Dead
  7. The Hangman
  8. A Trick of the Light
  9. The Beautiful Mystery
  10. How the Light Gets In
  11. The Long Way Home
  12. The Nature of the Beast
  13. A Great Reckoning

Eight. Shannon Stoker: The Registry (books 2-3) – Completed the series.

  1. The Collection
  2. The Alliance

Unfinished: Books that took me several years to finish reading

  1. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
  2. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  3. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
  4. Umapped Darkness: Finding God’s Path Through Suffering by Thomas Finch

Yearlong Theme – I am captivated by books in this genre

  1. The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan
  2. My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife: a One-Year Experiment and Its Surprising Results by Sara Horn
  3. Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong quest to Bring Calm to My Life by Priscilla Warner

Your Turn . . . 

  • Did you make any reading goals last year? Did you meet them?
  • Did you read “differently” this year? If yes, how so?
  • Were any books a surprise?
  • Which one(s) would you recommend that I read?

Related Resources . . .

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Surprising Reasons We Shouldn’t Complain

fruitfulwords125

 

Do you think that complaining, moaning, and grumbling is a harmless past time? Or do you think it can really stink up our lives and the lives of those around us? I belong to the second camp of thinkers.

Studies have shown that even a few days of stress [negativity and complaining are stressful] damages the neurons in the hippocampus (the part of the brain used for problem solving and cognitive functioning), and impairs its ability to create new neurons.

Over time this can result in the hippocampus shrinking, which can cause a decline in cognitive functions such as memory and the ability to adapt to new situations. – By Jessica Stillman

Read the rest of the article By Jessica Stillman: Complaining Is Terrible for You, According to Science.

Any repeatedly exercised muscle gets faster and stronger. As we repeatedly complain, this link in the brain gets faster and stronger making it easier to complain.  Complaining really does become an automatic response to life. We become a more and more negative person.

Here are some other reasons why we shouldn’t complain.

  • It is a bad example.
  • It reflects poorly on me.
  • It shows I am not a grateful person.
  • God says to not complain.
  • In truth when I am complaining, I am complaining against God.
  • It is contagious.
  • People rarely listen and reflect, instead they complain, too.
  • People won’t want to be around me. Or I will attract negative people.
  • I am showing an entitled attitude, my ideas ARE always the best ones.
  • I let impatience and pessimism rule my heart. This makes me feel depressed.
  • Complaining drains my energy.
  • My focus is on the problem and not the answer, therefore, nothing changes.
  • I feel badly about myself.
  • Complaining makes me feel impotent and angry.
  • I lose my inner peace and perspective.
  • My body gets flooded with cortisol, a stress hormone. This negatively impacts my physical and mental health.
  • I let lies rule my thinking.
  • I act like I can’t handle issues and people. I am in victim-mode.
  • This destroys communication and healthy bonding.

Update on the No Complaining Challenge: I complained! Back to Day 1.

Your Turn . . . 

  1. I was surprised at how BAD complaining is for your brain. What do you think about that?
  2. Which of the ideas resonated? Why?
  3. What would you add to the above list?
  4. Join me in my No Complaining Challenge.

Related Resources . . . 

Today is Day 3 of the #Write31Days online writing challenge. My topic is 31 Days of Fruitful Words INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING. I know I will be challenged in more ways than writing every day. If you’d like to have more fruitful words coming from your mouth, please join me from October 1-31, 2016.

Go here for the landing page which has all the posts from this series.

Go here to see what #Write31Days is all about, the categories and the bloggers who are participating.

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