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Miriam, at AnceStories, wrote a wonderful post called Who Are Our Brickwall Ancestors, and Why Aren’t We Blogging About Them Regularly?. As usual, Miriam is full of great tips and advice about how we can more effectively share information by writing about those ancestors that some of us feel have been “left here by aliens”.

In the next few days, I will share information that I have found and documented, and information I still need to locate, about one of my brickwall ancestors.

Thanks, Miriam, for inspiring me as well as others to get busy writing and sharing!

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pc240450  Our Christmas tree all lit up and decorated.  Santa had already arrived but everyone was still sleeping – except for my husband and me.  We  had gotten up early to make breakfast (me) and take our son to work (my husband) by 6 a.m.  The poinsettia just to the left of the lower part of the tree was given to us (along with a second one) by our daughter and son-in-law. 

Our grandson didn’t wake up until almost 7 a.m.!  Then we woke the rest of the household so we could eat the pumpkin bread I baked before unwrapping our gifts.

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Our grandson was quite excited to receive two video games from his Mom! 

There were sundry other gifts – games, DVDs, clothes, toys, books, household articles.

My mother-in-law gifted myself and my two daughters with hand-embroidered tea-towels with the days of the week on them.  My youngest daughter was excited to receive one of her first “grown-up” type of household presents.  My other daughter who was with us never pc250509expected to receive any other “hand-made” items from her grandmother (who had been ill for awhile – doing much better now!) and was overwhelmed by the gift. 

After our son got home from work, we opened a second set of gifts that my daughter and son-in-law had brought with them as well as my son’s gifts to him and his to us. 

I tried desperately to stay on schedule with the meal.  Unfortunately, I had never cooked all the dishes on the menu at one time so I was a little off my game.  Fortunately, most of the disruptions occured due to phone calls from relatives and grandsons eager to show Nana their toys or to give kisses.

Dinner was so good that we ate way too much!  Son-in-law sacked out on one sofa while the kids watched movies or played video games.  I finally talked everyone into eating at least one piece of pie a few hours after dinner.

By 9 p.m. I was so wiped out from being on my feet most of the day and all the cooking and excitement that I was falling asleep trying to read a new book (Stephen King) my husband got for me.  I had to turn in and slept amazingly well! 

Our family had a wonderful – little warm – Christmas.  Nothing compared to footnoteMaven’s in Washington State – who endured record snowfalls, power outages, and traveling white-knuckled to her daughter’s house for Christmas and then spending part of Christmas evening at their favorite Chinese restaurant that was open!  For her Christmas story please go here.

Happy New Year!

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Genealogy posts will be a little slow for the next week or so as I’m attempting to get caught up on items that need to be done by Christmas – the shopping for gifts, the buying of gifts, the constant asking for lists, the buying of ingredients for baking some gifts, the actual baking, the sorry-we-can’t-attend-the-party RSVPs, the buying of wrapping paper, the wrapping of gifts, the wondering if I’m going to get any laundry done due to washer backing up, the annual watching of “It’s A Wonderful Life”, the normal cooking and cleaning, the finishing of Christmas cards, the paying of bills, the hoping shipped packages will arrive on Wednesday, and the “why am I always in the wrong lane” at stores or on the road!

That said – what I have accomplished so far:

  • Received lists from all but ONE of my children (hint, hint!)
  • Almost done with Christmas shopping
  • Halfway through sending Christmas cards
  • Done with buying ingredients for baking
  • Two-thirds done with baking
  • Three-fourths done with buying wrapping paper
  • Sent regrets to 2 party requests and possibly a third
  • All but ten minutes done on watching “It’s A Wonderful Life”

I don’t know if I can do laundry until later today.  Bills will be paid on Monday.   UPS tracking of shipped packages will be done on Monday.  The rest of the baking of gifts will be done later today (after I purchase containers).  Christmas cards may be finished later today or tomorrow.  Wrapping will commence tomorrow (so if you are at my house on Sunday, I will probably not be much company!). Buying more wrapping paper will be done on Monday or Tuesday – after I see if I really do need more!

Now being in the wrong lane on the road – we’ve had an overabundance of fog at the end of the week.  Then we had sleet and freezing rain early in the week.  Most of the roads I travel on were bone dry – however in North Texas if something – anything – falls from the sky, people are stupefied.  Do I drive like a maniac?  Do I drive like the little old lady from Pasadena?  They have no clue in the world.  I end up behind people who are so scared to drive that they brake every five seconds and drive almost 20 mph.  Oh my goodness!  If you are so scared to drive on bone dry pavement, what in the world are you doing on the road to begin with?

Wrong lane at the stores:  Last night I was in a local department store that I frequent often.  Of course some of the cashiers are new – they have been hired as “seasonal” employees.  No problem if they are doing their best with the limited amount of training they’ve received.  The cashier is very polite and lets me know that her register needs to be cleared and it would be a couple minutes.  She’s very sweet – and probably about my age.  So I get in another lane behind a lady with ten different articles of clothing.  That cashier is very fast.  Then I watch them both stand and wait.  What are they waiting on?  Oh, the customer didn’t bring her purse into the store!  Someone had to go retrieve it for her!  Now, if you’re Christmas shopping (or shopping in general) – wouldn’t it be prudent to bring your money with you?  Not only that but there are dozens of signs all through the city that say “Lock (your vehicle), Take (your keys), Hide (your gifts)” due to the increased number of thefts from cars.  Why would you leave your money in a car at this time of year?  Then while I’m waiting, the first cashier lets me know she can help me.  She was so polite and told me that the next time I come in, she’ll probably be a little faster.  I told her it wasn’t the cashiers – it was the customers.

And why do people allow their just-walking babies to walk?  They dart out in front of carts, always manage to walk right in front of where I’m walking, or start pulling everything off the bottom shelf?  And then there are the “I’m taking 4 year old Johnny with me to see what he wants for Christmas.  Then I’m going to put it in the cart but not let him have it so he can scream at the top of his lungs for the next 30 minutes.”  UGH!  Please leave your wonderful, sweet, cooperative children at home.  And if they can fit in the seat of the basket – put them there!  There are enough people in the aisles – a toddler should not be put in harm’s way like that.  I’m sorry if I offended anyone but at any other time of year (besides the school shopping tax free weekend!) – there is generally no problem.  Your child is going to get hurt.  People can’t get through the aisles that have all sorts of stuff pulled off the shelves.  And we don’t really want to hear a screaming kid all evening.

I’ve changed my meal plan for this year – so here’s hoping it goes over well!  I’ve changed my gift-giving to others this year due to the economy and the fact that I’m always at a loss to get some of our good friends.

May your family have a blessed holiday – whether you are celebrating Christmas, Kwaanza or Hannukah.

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The genea-bloggers are caroling!  footnoteMaven over at footnoteMaven will be hosting all of the carolers real soon! Please go visit her site.

For my carol, I’ve chosen “Mary, Did You Know” – the Kenny Rogers/Wynonna Judd version.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day walk on water?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered,
will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?

Mary, did you know
your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby,
you’ve kissed the face of God.

The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?

Did you know,
that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding, is the great I AM.

(You can watch this video at YouTube.)  This song is on Kenny Rogers’ “The Gift” CD and was released in 1996.  It was written by Buddy Greene and Mark Lowry.  Lowry was asked by his church congregation in 1984 to write a song for Advent.  In Christianity Today, he said,

I tried to picture Mary holding the baby Jesus on the first Christmas morning and wondered what she was thinking about that child. She knew he was special—the Virgin Birth was her first clue—but could she ever imagine all the things that he would do while he was here?

Buddy Greene supplied the music for the lyrics six years later and the song was complete.  Besides Lowry and the duet of Rogers/Judd,  it’s also been recorded by about 30 artists including Rascal Flatts,  Reba McEntire and Kathleen Battle.

The first time I heard this song – several Christmases ago – I was in my room wrapping gifts, and felt such a peace settle over me as the music and lyrics touched the depth of my soul.  As a mother – and a mother of a son – I am inspired and awed by Mary.  I find myself wondering if, despite the knowledge of who and what her son was to be, she wanted to shield and protect him, just as any other mother would do.  I hear the words “baby boy”, and remember how I used to gaze at my newborn son many years ago, wondering what he was to become and knowing that there were so many opportunities for him and dreams for him to follow. 

Merry Christmas!

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Denise Olson, at Moultrie Creek is hosting the Christmas Tour of Blogs that will kick off on Dec. 15th. Genea-bloggers are encouraged to create a post describing their family’s Christmas decorations – past or present.

So sit back and enjoy my tour!

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This is the gold wreath – made out of newspapers and painted with gold spray paint – that my mom made for our home when I was growing up.  It hung above our fireplace mantel.  On the mantel were Christmas decorations. 

 

 

60s-83This was the garland hung around the wrought iron railing by the front door.

 

 

 

 

60s-130Me in front of the Christmas tree probably about 1969-1970.  Notice the end table next to the tree has the red Christmas candles on it.  Our windows also had a single electric candle that we lit after the sun had gone down.  For a few years we even decorated the fir trees in our front yard with lights.   In the photo below, you’ll notice that our large, picture window had several of these “candles” on the sill.

 

christmastree

My first real “adult” Christmas in my own apartment included a wicker chair strung with garland and red satin balls because I was too poor to afford a Christmas tree!  The first tree I bought was in 1984 at the local Gibsons that cost $14!  It was pretty lonely looking (sort of like the tree on “A Charlie Brown Christmas”) until the lights, decorations and tinsel was put on.

We moved into our home 20 years ago, so we have had two decades of creating new and wonderful memories at Christmas time.  My husband would bring the tree and all the decorations down from the attic either the first or second weekend of December.  After setting up the tree and stringing the lights, I would hand each child one ornament at a time to place on the branches.  Of course as they grew older, they each had several of their “school” made decorations to use.  For the very first ornament, I took a picture and once the entire tree was decorated (after I hung the garland or threw the tinsel), I would position them on the floor gazing up at the tree in wonder for a photo.

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Generally the only other decorations that go up are the Santa Stocking, given to our youngest daughter many years ago by some good church friends, the Christmas Wreath (it has changed only a few times in 20 years),

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and the gold “Jingle Bell” that hangs between our dining and living room.  The bell belonged to my grandparents and as a child, I loved to pull the string and hear the tune as Santa and his reindeer (on the outside) spun around it.  I was fortunate enough to end up with it many years ago.  If you look at to the upper right of the tree over the floor lamp, you can see the bell.)  My children have on occasion put lights in their bedroom windows and once I wrapped holly vines over the top of the living room arch.

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I’ve either strung regular silver garland on the tree or “thrown” tinsel on each branch.  However, the tree above (2003), I strung pearl beads as garland.  The tree to the right (2006) I draped ribbon down from the top with bows tied on each length at different intervals. (The Jingle Bell is more visible in this picture.)

We’ve had the tree in two different places in our home.  For the last ten years (at least) it has sat in this exact spot.  This tree was purchased at an after Christmas sale, many years ago for half off the sale price!  In 1999 some good friends were moving and gave us their pre-lit Christmas tree.  It had so many white lights on it that we could feel the heat as soon as we walked into the room.  Needless to say we gave it to our oldest daughter the following year and went back to using our well loved tree.

I hope you have enjoyed my tour of Christmases past and present.  And may your family have a very Merry Christmas!

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I’ve been doing some research the last couple of days and believe that I’ve knocked down a couple other brick walls!  Many years ago as I was looking for the parents of John Blazer (my maternal 3rd great-grandfather) b. March 12, 1810 d. 1873, I came across an article published in “Biographical and Historical Record of Jay County, Indiana”, Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1887 about a man named Samuel Blazer.  I decided to re-visit that article with fresh eyes.

The date of the publication was prior to Samuel’s death which leads me to believe that he had some input as to what was written about him.  The biography stated that Samuel was born in Gallia County, Ohio to Philip and Elizabeth Blazer on August 2, 1813 and had eight siblings – one of which – John – moved from Ohio to Madison County, Ohio but had died several years prior.  The only John Blazer of the right generation living in Madison County at least a decade and more prior would be my John Blazer.  My ancestor also listed his birthplace as Ohio on the 1850, 1860, and 1870 Censuses plus his death came 14 years prior to the book being published (although it is not known exactly when the interview or information from Samuel was obtained).

From the “Gallipolis Journal” (Gallia County, Ohio) published on August 31, 1892 (posted to the Blazer family message board by Sandra Maskew), a man named J.J. Blazer (son of Peter Blazer) talks of his grandfather – Jacob Blazer, who had 12 children – one of which was Philip (purported father of Samuel and John).  Mr. Blazer mentioned that Philip, as well as his father, Peter, and his grandparents, and five of his aunts, moved from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia to Pennsylvania and then on to Green Twp, Gallia County, Ohio in 1803.  J.J. goes on to report that Philip and his wife had nine children – and Samuel (Philip’s son) resides in Jay County, Indiana.

This information leads me to believe that I have placed my gr-gr-great-grandfather into the correct family.  There will be further documentation to research in order to have exact proof, but for now at least I think I’m pointed in the right direction.

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Yes – THAT James Madison. Fourth President of the United States. He would be my 2nd cousin, 7 times removed. Alright, so that’s a bit of a stretch!

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And no, I haven’t been holding out waiting to spring that on everyone. I didn’t know! Just found out yesterday. As I’ve mentioned before, when I bump (or crash head long) into a brick wall, I turn around and go in another direction. It eases the stress level that those walls can create and keeps me from getting too bored. It had been awhile since I looked for the ancestors of my 3rd great-grandfather, John Blazer, so yesterday as I went about my research, lo & behold, I was blessed to finally find out his wife’s (my 3rd great-grandmother’s) maiden name!

John Blazer married Mary Ann Nelson, daughter of John Griffith Nelson and Mary Dickenson Arbuckle, around 1834.

Mary Dickenson Arbuckle was the daughter of William Arbuckle and Catherine Madison (daughter of Humphrey Madison and Mary Dickenson). Catherine’s grandfather (James Madison III) and President James Madison’s grandfather (Ambrose Madison) were brothers – making Catheirne and the President 2nd cousins.

President Madison, according to Wikipedia, was considered the “Father of the Constitution”, one of the founding fathers of our great nation, and the “Father of the Bill of Rights”.

I think it’s fitting that John and Mary Ann (Nelson) Blazer lived most of their married life and died in Madison County, Indiana – named in honor of President James Madison – a cousin of Mary Ann’s and mine. I wonder if Mary Ann realized that she was related to a President of her parents’ generation and if she did, what did she think about it?

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Several genea-bloggers have been playing along on a Christmas meme that Lori at Smoky Mountain Family Historian found. So I’ll bite!

Wrapping paper or gift bags?   Wrapping Paper (I only use bags for showers or birthdays).

Real tree or Artificial? – Artificial. I think it’s much safer plus I kill any live plants!

When do you put up the tree? Last couple years it has been Thanksgiving weekend because my oldest daughter has been here to help.  In the past it was usually around the 10th of December.

When do you take the tree down? New Years or a couple days later – sometimes we leave it up until Epiphany.

Do you like eggnog? Yes but since I don’t consume eggs (or try not to) anymore – I haven’t had any in 2 years!

Favorite gift received as a child?  A special doll I had requested.

Hardest person to buy for?  People who won’t give me their Christmas lists!

Easiest person to buy for? My grandsons.

Do you have a nativity scene? Yes – I got it for Christmas several years ago & it has sat on top of the TV set (it’s real small) all year round ever since!

Mail or email Christmas cards? I send them in the mail & then email my “letter” to people I don’t have a mailing address for or distant genealogy cousins!

Worst Christmas gift you ever received?  I’m a firm believer that it’s the thought that counts so I don’t consider anything the “worst”.

Favorite Christmas Movie?  It’s a Wonderful Life.

When do you start shopping for Christmas?  Sometime after Thanksgiving and before Christmas Eve!

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No.

Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?  Cookies and Butterscotch Pie if I make it.  This year it will be Wing Stop wings on Christmas Eve after church.

Lights on the tree? You bet!

Favorite Christmas song?  Mary, Did You Know (Kenny Rogers/Wynonna Judd), Silent Night, The First Noel (sorry can’t pick just one!)

Travel at Christmas or stay home?  As long as Santa visits our house, we stay at home! 

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?  Yes.

Angel on the tree top or a star? We have an Angel but at one time I put a great big red velvet bow & my family thought I was nuts so we don’t do that anymore.  My mom put white doves on the top of her tree.

Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Always Christmas morning – after the family sits down to eat breakfast.  My husband has had me open things on Christmas Eve but I prefer the next morning.

Most annoying thing about this time of the year?  The cold weather & people who take their kids to the store to shop for Christmas – especially when they allow said children to play with every single toy & then leave them in the aisles. 

Favorite ornament theme or color? I always said that someday I would do a theme but haven’t done that. Instead I’m doing the “sepia” or old fashioned ribbon & bows to drape on the tree.

Favorite for Christmas dinner?  Turkey dinner & all the stuff that goes with it.

What do you want for Christmas this year?  Good health for everyone & a prosperous new year coming up.  And a David Cook CD would be nice!

Julie also added a question: 

What is your favorite thing about the holidays?  The Spirit of the Season.  After Christmas Eve church service the family convening at our house for “appetizer” dinner, reading the Night Before Christmas to the children (even the adult children!) and the Nativity Story and then waiting on Santa to arrive!

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As I peruse my family file, I’ve come across some of the names listed in the reunion announcement of the first Amore-Werts reunion held on May 25, 1924 at the home of my great-grandparents, (William) Henry and (Mary Angelina) Annie (Werts) Amore.

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Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Amore – my great-grandparents

Mr. and Mrs. B.F. Baker – Benjamin and (Louisa) Clementine (called Clemmie) Baker.  Clemmie was the daughter of my great-grandparents, my grandfather’s sister.

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Baker – Donald Francis and Emma Isabelle (Endsley) Baker.  He was the oldest son of Benjamin and Clemmie Baker.  Don and Emma’s son with them: Francis Donald.

Clarence W. Amore and family – Clarence was the youngest son of my great-grandparents, my grandfather’s brother. His wife (or soon to be ex-wife) was Nellie Buchanan.  Children: Theodore William and Harold Winifred.

Mr. and Mrs. Foster – Harry and Anna Belle (Baker) Foster.  She was the daughter of Benjamin and Clemmie Baker.

H. Emmerson – I believe this should actually be Emerson W. and Clara Ethel (Baker) Levering.  Clara was the daughter of Benjamin and Clemmie Baker.

Mr. and Mrs. Cephas Amore – Cephas and Ada (Prior) Amore.  He was the half-brother of my great-grandfather.  Children with them included: Ralph C. and Pauline Elizabeth Amore.

Mr. and Mrs. John Reese – John Thomas and Laura A. (Amore) Reese.  Laura was my great-grandfather’s half-sister.  Children with them probably included: Ellis and Edna Reese (possibly also Mary).

Mrs. Dennis Brannon – Nellie (Amore) Brannon, wife of William Denison Brannon.  She was the youngest half-sister of my great-grandfather.

Mrs. William Seater – I believe this should be Gladys Laura (Spragg) Slater (wife of Charles William Slater).  Gladys was the niece of Nellie (Amore), Laura (Amore) and Cephas Amore, daughter of Jennie (Amore) Spragg, and half-niece of my great-grandfather.

Captain R. Amore – Rollo Amore, 5th child of my great-grandparents, younger brother of my grandfather.  Possibly there with his wife, Belle, and children, Beatrice, Florence and Ralph.

Rev. I.H. Amore – Isaiah Henderson (Zade) Amore, oldest son (2nd oldest child) of my great-grandparents and older brother of my grandfather.  Possibly there with his wife, Lulu, and son, Robert.

Miss Marie Buschagen – Marie died around Oct. 23, 2007 as Marie B. Cosier.  Her obituary listing doesn’t show any relationship, however, she is listed as there with Rev. I.H. Amore, so she could be a friend, a parishoner, or relative of his wife.

Mr. and Mrs. Therman Vensil – George Thurman and Cora Etta (Simon) Vinsel.  She was the 2nd cousin of my great-grandmother and daughter of William and Susannah Simon.

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Barcroft – Elizabeth Ann (Werts) and Lewis B. Barcroft.  Elizabeth was the first cousin once removed of my great-grandmother.

Mrs. William Simmons – Susannah (Werts) Simon.  Susannah was also the first cousin once removed of my great-grandmother.

Alex Jennings – Alexander Jennings and wife, Sarah Ellen (Simon) (my great-grandmother’s half-sister).

Mr. and Mrs. John Jennings – Son of Alexander and Sarah Jennings, half-nephew of my great-grandmother.

Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Jennings – Son of Alexander and Sarah Jennings, half-nephew of my great-grandmother.

Belford McLain – Belford and Clara Pearl (Jennings) McClain.  She was the daughter of my great-grandmother’s half-sister.

Delbert Stone – Delbert and Emma Odessa (Jennings) Stone.  Emma was the daughter of my great-grandmother’s half-sister.

Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Werts – John Calvin and Myra Eudora (Sprague) Werts.  Calvin was my great-grandmother’s first cousin once removed.

Lloyd Amore – Lloyd and Ella Maria (House) Amore, my grandparents.

Roy Amore – son of my great-grandparents, my grandfather’s brother.

Mrs. John Shuck – Martha Ellen Adams, granddaughter of John and Elizabeth (Werts) Shroyer.  Martha was the 2nd cousin of my great-grandmother.

Mrs. Samuel Powelson – Anna M. Powelson, wife of Samuel A. Powelson who was the grandson of Charles and Susannah Maria (Shroyer) Adams.  Samuel was the 2nd cousin, once removed of my great-grandmother.

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Shackelford – Walter and Gertrude Pearl (Amore) Shackelford.  She was my dad’s oldest sister.

Charles Fisher – son of Martha Ellen (Shroyer) Shruck (married names also: Fisher/Wiggins) and George W. Fisher.  He was the 2nd cousin, once removed of my great-grandmother.

I believe it’s very important to decipher as much as you can from any news clippings that mention ancestors or collateral family members in order to ascertain the relationships.  This will also aide in determining the accuracy of the news article.

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According to the Library of Congress site, today (Dec. 1st) marks the 53rd anniversary of the Arrest of Rosa Parks because she refused to relinquish her seat on the bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. Granted, I have never had to deal with the “back of the bus” issue because of my race, but I have faced a different type of bus issue.

In my sophomore year my stop was the last for the bus in the morning. Needless to say, when there are many junior and senior football players riding the same bus and not enough seats to hold three people (what the school district considered acceptable), I found myself being directed by the driver to “find a seat” even though there wasn’t any or sitting on the edge of a seat holding on for dear life every time we turned a corner so I wouldn’t fall out into the aisle. Then as a senior, I drove to school most of the year until one month when I wasn’t able to drive (due to circumstances I won’t go into here). I had to ride the bus for the first time since the middle of my sophomore year. After three days of riding the bus, the driver basically told me that since I wasn’t “included” on the original bus passenger list, there really was no room so I couldn’t ride any more. Basically I was being kicked off the bus because I’d found other ways to get to school for almost two years.

On this day in history Agon debuted by the New York City Ballet.  The composer and choreographer, Igor Stravinsky and George Ballanchine, had fled their homeland of Russia after the Revolution and settled in the U.S.  They, like Rosa Parks, dealt with cultural and safety issues and some form of discrimination.

Are there any persons in your family or ancestry who fled their homeland due to discrimination or a difference of political views?  What about persons of any race who was told to go to the “back of the bus” (or something like that) for reasons unknown?  How did they deal with it?

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