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Jesse Tree from 2002

I just came across a photo of my boys that shows a small part of our Jesse Tree on the left side of the photo. Our Jesse Tree is made of felt and has magnets on the back that hold it to the fridge. Each day's ornament attaches with velcro. You can see five days are up.


This photo is from three years ago, and is taken in our kitchen in Ukraine. My hubby is the guy in the grey turtleneck on the right.
The other guy? I don't remember. . . I think he was an American spending a few weeks in Ukraine who was staying at our house for a few hours on the way to the airport.


November 30, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Scarry Through The Years

Check out the changes in the old and new Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever. A soldier replaced by a judge, no more "brave heroes" and "beautiful screaming ladies."

This was one of my sister's books when she was little. My favorite Richard Scarry title was "What Do People Do All Day?"

(Via Jared)


November 29, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



For Family Honor, She Had to Die

"Heshu Yones, a West London teen, fought off her father for a frantic 15 minutes. She ran from room to room in her family home one Saturday afternoon until he cornered her in a dingy bathroom, held her over the tub and slit her throat.

The father, a onetime Kurdish freedom fighter from Iraq, told authorities that his only daughter had to die. The 16-year-old had sullied the family name, he said, by dating without his permission."

--Christine Spolar, Kurdish Media

(Via Religion of Peace?)


November 28, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Jesse Tree Bible Study. . . You're Invited

Gentle Christian Mothers will be hosting an Advent Bible study, based on the Jesse Tree. The Bible study begins the first Sunday of Advent, November 27th. It will be hosted in the Drawing Closer/Bible Study forum, which is accessible to all registered GCM members. (New mamas are invited to join!)

As Hannah Jo, one of the Bible study leaders explains, "A Jesse Tree displays the family tree of Jesus. All the pivitol events in the Old Testament are drawn together to trace God's faithfulness throughout the generations and the working out of His plan for the salvation of mankind through the coming messiah."

The GCM Jesse Tree Bible study will follow these symbols and scriptures.

Many families are building the Jesse Tree into part of their family Christmas tradition. Here are some daily family devotions based on the Jesse Tree.

Our family has a felt Jesse Tree made by a dear friend over a decade ago for her family. Her children are grown now, and she's shared it with us. It's one of my boys favorite parts of the holiday, building anticipation to the celebration of the coming of the Christ Child.

Curious about what a Jesse Tree looks like?
Jesse Tree 1
Jesse Tree 2
Jesse Tree 3
Jesse Tree 4
Jesse Tree 5

"Children love helping to make the ornaments," says Hannah Jo, "and the Jesse Tree can be a teaching tool to help pass on the faith to yet another generation. We're looking forward to enjoying this tradition together with you!"


November 27, 2005  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Advent 2005

Today is the first Sunday in Advent.

If your family does not yet observe Advent, I'd like to encourage you to consider incorporating it into your family Christmas traditions. There are many ways to observe advent, from the very simple to the more involved.

Here are some resources to browse through and consider for your family.

Our Advent Readings / Hymns 2004:
First Sunday
Second Sunday
Third Sunday
Fourth Sunday


Our boys and Advent 2004

Join a Jesse Tree Bible Study

BadgerMum wrote an excellent, illustrated post about Advent last year. This Classical Life posted a photo of their traditional Advent wreath--I think I asked Kristen to, when I was trying to assemble ours in Ukraine.


November 27, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Seeing Harry Potter

We went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire last weekend. The boys and I wore wizard hats to the theatre.


praises the Goblet of Fire for being a real movie--not just a visual translation of a book. I, on the other hand, loved the first HP movie because it was such an enchanting translation of The Philosopher's Stone--it was what I saw in my imagaination and more.

Harry Potter as we've all seen, brings up strong feelings and views among Christians. And while there are many lovely, thoughtful people who disapprove of Harry Potter, well, I simply disagree with the bulk of the Christian critcisms of HP.

Fruitful Sora has an essay about why their very conservative, very small-o orthodox family reads the Harry Potter books. (Sidenote: Just because she has a favorable review of the books, I don't assume she likes the movies as well. . .)

And check out Travis Prinzi's blog Sword of Gryffindor. In his own words, he was once a "Harry Hater" and now writes frequntly about Harry Potter from a Christian perspective.


November 25, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Thanksgiving Memories 2005


Isn't it beautiful? One of our family traditions is that Dad makes the turkey and his fabulous wild rice and sausage stuffing. This year he made two--one for dinner and one for leftovers.


Dad wasn't the only one in the kitchen. My Mom was bustling around so much, that it was only when she sat down to check her e-mail (and my blog) that I was able to snap this picture.


Just a glimpse of our boys eyeing our Thanksgiving Feast. Everything that was suggested made it onto the menu--turkey, stuffing, mashed potatos, gravy, green peas, ginger carrots, cauliflower with cheese, mushrooms, cranberry relish, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, corn on the cob. . .


For dessert, we had pumpkin pie, pecan pie, gingerbread, oatmeal scotchies (made by J9) and ambrosia.


Not everyone was eating turkey. . .

Dad and I were trying to tally up which Thanksgivings we've been together. I think we've spent five of them with my folks, in the ten years we've been married. One of the most momentous ones was 2001--just a few days before we flew over to Ukraine.

More pictures.


November 24, 2005  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



A Psalm of Thanksgiving

Psalm 100

A Psalm for giving thanks.

1Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
2Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

3Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.


November 24, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



A Psalm of Exhaustedness

As a school project, J9 wrote a poem in the form of a Psalm.

Psalm of Exhaustedness

Praise Him, praise Him!
I知 exhausted, I知 tired .
Please let me sleep soon,
Lord of my heart,
please let me sleep.

Lord, may I go to sleep now?
Lord, I知 exhausted.
Lord, let me sleep.
Lord, let me go to sleep, Lord let me go to sleep.

Lord of the earth, I love you!

It sounds to me like something that would have been penned by The Psalmist's wife during her third trimester. . . I guess J9 needs more chamomile tea and an earlier bedtime.


November 20, 2005  |  Comments (14)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



I'm so excited!!!

My sister and her kidlets arrive tomorrow! And my parents the day after.

My "to do" list is a mile long.

Finish cleaning the house. (Thanks, sweetheart!)
Get caught up on laundry
Air out the house
Go to the grocery store
Make my Thanksgiving menu
Still open for modifications when the family arrives
Go to Target
Wall screws, black duct tape, light bulb cover
Stool cover, door thingie
Clean the Closet
Clean Walls (I love the Magic Eraser)
Dust! Ugh--Florida has so much.
Mail Packages
Wrap Presents
Clean the office/spare room
Hang magazine rack
Sweep, Vacuum, Mop
Call Mom and Dad
Go to the Farmer's Market
Call Myakka River State Park
Clean the car and van
Weed / Straighten the yard
Straighten the Lanai
Clean out the kitchen cupboards
Clean the fridge
Sort the Kids' Backpacks/Papers
Kids--organize toys
Kids--organize books
Kids--toys in garage

If it all doesn't get done, I know my family will understand. But I want to have things ready and in order.


I'm so tickled that we're having Thanksgiving together. My brother won't be here, but other than him this will be the first time we're all together since the Thanksgiving right before we left for Ukraine, four years ago.


November 20, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink





(Via the Wild Calvinista)

And on a related now, Katie's Beer links to Doug Kern's "Here I Blog, I Can Do No Other" at Tech Central Station.


November 19, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The I's Have It

About seven years ago I took the Myers-Briggs personality profile test. The official one. I answered the questions truthfully, but to be honest, I answered them in ways that reflected who I thought I was and who I thought I wanted to be.

I scored "E" for Extrovert--but not overly extroverted.

Several years ago, after living in Ukraine for awhile, I realized just how un-E I really am.

I enjoy having people in our home for dinner, for Bible study. I'm energized by public speaking. Teaching groups of people is fun for me. Things like this led me to think I was extroverted and energized by spending time with people.

Reality is, all of these people-oriented times are on my own terms. Dinner and groups of people in my home. Teaching? I'm directing the interaction. Public speaking and meeting groups of people--still on my terms. I enjoy these things, feel satisfied in how they are working towards a larger purpose. And then I go home and recover.

Interestingly, most of the missionaries I've met in training situations, conferences, and working on the field were introverts, too. Introverts renewed by alone time, fellowship with the Lord, studying. . . Energetic introverts willing to go into new situations, take risks meeting new people, willinging to invest themselves in other people. But introverts none the less.

KatieKind linked to a tongue-in-cheek, but insightful article from the Atlantic this week, "Caring for Your Introvert." It's worth reading if you or someone you love has wears the I badge.

(And if you've never taken the official Myers-Briggs profile test, the unofficial online versions here and here are pretty good, too.)


November 19, 2005  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Blogging on the Mountain


i'm slowly getting the hang of this. i think... so welcome. welcome to my world. my mountain. welcome to a blog that celebrates childhood. celebrates music, prose, and good cuisine! . . . enjoy your stay, comment often, breathe, breathe, breathe, the air is clean, the grasses are high, the wildlife is dangerous, the kids are noisy, and it's all so unpredictably beautiful. the sun is now just staring to rise and water is boiling. i greet the day. greetings to you.

-mountain mama


November 18, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Children in The Pew: The Practicalities

Over at the Heart to Hearth blog, there are several recent posts with principled and pragmatic ideas about worshiping together with our children during church services. Read the full posts, and be encouraged!

Jesus said, "Suffer little children
, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 9:17 NASB). Little children are loved dearly by God, and it's good to bring them to Him and to worship Him, but we should keep in mind that it's our job as parents to come alongside and guide them and teach them and help them learn in ways that will help nurture their trust and love in God our Father, our Abba Daddy.


Our expectation when we attend worship service is that we are worshipping as a family. I expect to be actively parenting in the pew. I expect to miss some of the sermon at time. I expect my children to whisper questions to me or my toddler to need to nurse. I expect that this is a process, a journey that will take time. I expect that my parenting cannot stop in the pew. When I have that expectation, I can joyfully minister to my family in the most intimate environment of all.worship!


Related Links:
Children in Congregational Worship
Children in Church
Family Worship


November 17, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



On Faeriefolk. . .

I like faeries. I have for many years. I read faerie tales when very young, from a book that was my mothers when she was a little girl. In junior high, I read all of the rainbow fearie books. Even just a few months ago, Hubby bought me a faerie book as a surprise.

Carla Rolfe, blogger of wisdom and homeschool mama of seven, has a faerie tale book she's written and published, Maplewood Manor Garden Faeires. I like the bits I've read about it, and knowing Carla and her writing, I'm sure this book captures a bit of the enchantment of childhood.



November 17, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Our Happy Slavic Bubble

Each of our boys has come to me in the past week or so just breaking down in tears. They were convinced that they had no friends, that the rest of the family doesn't like them. . . Normal kid growing-up stuff, but for them it was the end of the world.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to make the analogy, but being a parent is like having an exposed nerve from the day your child comes into the world. Worse, there's absolutely nothing you can do to cover this nerve up. When they hurt, you hurt, and there's so little you can do to prevent it. Having lived and been homeschooled in Ukraine for most of their lives, this is their first year in the 'real' world. I miss our happy Slavic bubble.


This is something I've resisted writing, resisted sharing. Yet, here it is. It hurts to see our children struggling so much. It hurts when they know God loves them and we love them, but they don't *feel* that love around them.

We had a stranger yell at R6 at the grocery store the other day. Unjustly. The adrenaline surge, fight-or-flight. Mama bear showed up.

Aunt Laura from Kyiv is going to (hopefully!) be spending New Year's with us, in true Ukrainian fashion. T7 said, "Aunt Laura is one of my five most favorite people in Ukraine. First Babushka, then Aunt Laura & Aunt Fluffy. . ."

It helps that the elementary principal and the guidance counselor both have spent many years overseas and many years working with MKs. They've kept a special eye out on our boys. Been reassuring about what they see at school. For the most part, it seems like school is less stressful for the boys when they are there. But they feel safe and secure at home, and so they share all their struggles and sadnesses with us. Which is a good thing. Just a hard thing.


November 15, 2005  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Tea. . . To Your Health!

What is the composition of your tea? Is tea really a cancer preventative? Which teas are highest in antioxidents? How can I best brew my tea? What exactly are the differences among black, green, and white teas?

Tea Times is the new blog of the Portsmouth Tea Company. Whether you are are tea connoisseur or simply want to be, Portsmouth Tea provides great information and a superior product.

I was privileged to sample three of the Portsmouth Teas this spring, courtesy of Marshall Malone. Of them, the Avalanche Rooibus was my favorite, though the Coconut Creme made a fabulous iced tea and the Earl Grey La Creme was very distinctive.

For a very limited time (deadline is Wednesday!) the PortsmouthTeaGuy will send a large cannister of tea to bloggers who link to the Portsmouth Tea Company.

Go ahead--it's worth it!


November 14, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Hubby's Back to Blogging. . .

Many dear TulipGirl readers have also been regular readers of Hubby's blog, Le Sabot Post-Moderne. If so, you're aware that he has been on hiatus for about six months or so.

Lately he hasn't been able to sleep well. Too many thoughts swirling around his brain keeping him awake. Hence, back to blogging. *grin*

Not only is he blogging at Le Sabot, he's begun a second blog.

Religion of Peace? is designed to be a clearinghouse on terrorism news, with links to both news stories and the best commentary related to the War on Terror.

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So, check them out and pass along the news that Hubby is back!


November 14, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Twenty Random Things

I've been tagged for several memes lately--ones I've wanted to join, but have been slow. . . This one is from Megan.

1. I was the Easter Bunny at the mall when I was preggers with my first.
2. In spite of several years of piano, I can play 溺ary Had a Little Lamb. And nothing else.
3. I adore green veggies--spinach, artichoke, zucchini. . .
4. In another life, I think I would have been content to live in the rural south, wear daisydukes and halter tops, and listen to southern rock.
5. I致e been nicknamed 鍍he plant assassin by my Hubby.
6. I keep trying to grow kitchen herbs anyway.
7. I知 an optimist.
8. I壇 rather read about doing crafty things than actually do them.
9. I started writing a book about post abortion issues about. . . oh. . . 12 years ago.
10. It痴 been so long since I set it aside, I don稚 think I値l ever go back and finish.
11. I like being pregnant.
12. I like labor and childbirth.
13. I'm no good at list making.
14. Hence, never finishing 100 Things About Me or 擢ifty Things I Love or this 20 Random Things About Me.

Can you come up with twenty? Tagging Anne and Anne and Anne.


November 14, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Prayers for the Persecuted

Today, November 13th, is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

My prayer this day is that my brothers and sisters who are imprisoned, beaten, harrassed, and otherwise targeted for their faith in Jesus Christ will be comforted by the Lord and understand in a way I never can, these words from the Lord to those enduring persecution.

12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

溺y son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.

7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:1-14


November 13, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Fated Love


(Via Prairie Girl, though I'm wondering whether PyroPhil is responsible for it. . .)


November 12, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire will be released in theatres this Friday, November 19th. Get ready for the next round of nay-sayers and controversy. . .

I came across a neat HP related blog the other day, Sword of Gryffindor. (HT to someone. . . When I remember who--thank you!)

I'm looking forward to this movie. And depending on how it's made, looking forward to bringing my boys to see it.


November 12, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



This Week. . .

Ahhhh. . . This is the life. Hubby blogging at the desktop, and me curled up in the recliner with the laptop. The family that blogs together. . . well, something like that.

My Mom doesn't feed me enough. That's what T7 told the dental assistant when she encouraged him to stop chewing on his numbed cheek. Kids.

Last Friday I had a bit of me time. I finally bought a pair of Gap stretch cords that I've been coveting for years. I know, I know. . . Not very sanctified, but it was out and out coveting. When we were in Ukraine, some friends of mine in the States were just gushing over how soft and comfy their Gap stretch cords were. I wanted a pair sooooo bad. But you know that sort of thing really does need to be tried on in person. Not surprisingly, there are no Gap stores in Kyiv. (Though there was once a rumor of one and a friend and I spent a day trying to find it.) So, I just couldn't resist buying myself a wonderful, beige, buttery-soft cordouroy pants when I went into Gap last week and saw them on sale. And yes, they have met my expectations.

Along with those jeans I bought a copy of Home Comforts. My Mom and Dad sent me some family photos, an encouraging card, and a gift card to the bookstore. It felt great to get that surprise and splurge.

I met with the guidance counselor at the boys' school that day, too. I like Mrs. Smith. She's approachable and wise. She's also lived overseas. I keep running into people at the boys' school who served on the mission field--the elementary principle, guidance counselor, receptionist. . . I've been very thankful for the help and understanding they've shown the boys as they transition into American school culture.

Speaking of which, there is so much I take for granted that my kids know about American culture that they don't necessarily do. This morning on the drive to school, T7 mentioned something about summer vacation and R6 was surprised. "You mean we don't have to go to school all summer?"

This school has been a good choice for our boys at this time. But I have so many homeschool biases still come up. Honestly, I'm a bit annoyed at homework. So many hours at school, and they still have work to do at home?

Several weeks ago, Amy wrote incredulously about frozen PB&J sandwiches and the people who buy them. I secretly thought, "Hey, that's a good idea. . ." While I can't imagine buying frozen PB&J, I did ask some experts if they'd ever frozen PB&J, and how they turned out when thawed. Then I did an experiment of my own. I made three loaves of bread into PB&J last Sunday, and T7 bagged them for me. We froze them. Each morning I pulled one from the freezer while packing lunches. Not a single complaint from the sandwich consumers. It works. And while, yeah, it only takes a few minutes to make them in the morning, I'm all for streamlining morning routines.

Hubby's grandparents arrived in Florida this week. They are unofficially snowbirds, staying several weeks or months each year down hear with Hubby's folks. We met them last night for pizza, and it was so good to see them. It was as if the past four years that we haven't seen them was no time at all.

I'm going to call my grandparents this weekend. They are back in Metairie. Their house is still standing and they've moved back in, but the downstairs was completely ruined by Katrina. I don't even want to think about if the photos MawMaw kept in the parlor were brought upstairs or not. I just realized that the piano on which I learned to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Mary Had a Little Lamb was likely ruined. I know those are just things, but they represent memories and people and. . . I shouldn't have started thinking down this path. I'm going to call them tomorrow.

My parents are coming for Thanksgiving. I'm absolutely giddy about it. My sister and her children are flying in, too. I can't wait. They haven't seen the boys yet, since we've been back. We're going to go see alligators and my Dad is going to make the turkey, and it's going to be low-key and laid-back and wonderful.


November 11, 2005  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Veteran's Day 2005


Little Soldier

Little soldier, little child
You're still too young to know,
The impact of the battlefield
Or how its memory lingers so.

Playing war is now a game,
Its truth you can't conceive
Should you defend, until its end
Our freedom to believe.

In God, in man, in liberty
With rights for one and all,
Little soldier, little child,
That day you'll stand as tall.

Written by Maureen Kuehne
Copyright 2003


November 11, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Cranberry Sauce with Cabernet

2c cabernet, or other dry red wine you like
1c sugar
1c brown sugar
1/2c apple juice
6-12 cloves, depending on your taste
2 cinnamon sticks
1t ginger
1 orange, sliced
1lb fresh cranberries

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT the cranberries and simmer until reduced to about 2c liquid. For me this takes about 15 min. Beware the mess on your stove. Strain the liquid and discard the cloves, cinnamon, and orange slices. Return the liquid to the pot and add the cranberries. Stir until they all pop. From here you can keep stirring, but I mash it up with a potato masher. Enjoy!

(Via TrinMama)


November 10, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



From the iMonk

A must read. With Regrets, All My Love.


November 09, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



What About You?

Btw, I took this test with T7 just now. It was interesting to hear him answer the questions and see his perception of himself. He was Aslan, btw.

(Via Mollie)


November 09, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Charity Grace

A dear friend I've known for years online has just recently begun blogging. Please visit Charity Grace's encouraging blog.


November 09, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Joining the Ezzo Conversation. . .

The discussions have been picking up over at the AwareParent board. This is a forum designed for parents from a wide range of backgrounds to discuss the pros and cons of the parenting ideas taught by Gary Ezzo. Come join in. . .

And related (even if the titles don't seem so):
Gary Ezzo Would Make an Excellent CEO for Walmartor Not
I Love Teenagers
Kid Friendly Home Decor

Tags: , , , , ,


November 07, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Anyone At All

In my life, sorrow has kissed my lonely heart
Fear of man tears me apart
And I try, but many times I've loved the world
So many times I've been the whore
And I cried a million tears, or maybe more
So many times I have been the whore
I will fall down on my knees

. . .

. . .

Cos if I could be anyone at all
Well, if I could be anyone at all
Let me be the whore at your feet


November 04, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



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