Friday, November 30, 2012

Caffeinated Christmas - Simple and Pure


I've spent the day trying to think about what to write about.  The last few years I have had challenges for everyone for the Christmas Season.  Best Decorations.  Best Christmas Story.  Holiday Traditions.  You get my point.   This year I have .......Nothing.  

I have tried to avoid Christmas this year.  I didn't want to think about it.  I called the neighbour down the road crazy for putting up her Christmas decorations the day after Halloween (you have to give me that one.)  Every time there is a Christmas countdown mentioned, I just want to scream.  It's not that I have not thought about it or prepared.  I have a pretty good idea of what I am getting everyone.  I even took part in Black Friday to purchase a new Keurig for my mother in law.  Waiting in front of Walmart at 7 am in -10C was exhilarating to say the least.   There were 10 of us who braved it and nobody got hurt.  I digress....

It's not that I dislike Christmas.  I love Christmas.  I love the smells.  I love the lights.  I love the traditions.  I just don't like the stress; the expectations; and the family strife that occurs during the season.  I love surprising my kids with their gifts.  I love sitting by the tree, mesmerized by the light.  I love watching the Christmas shows (The Drummer Boy is still my favourite).  I dislike the mess.  I dislike phony sentiments.  I dislike the commercialism that it has become.

Christmas as a kid and Christmas as an adult are different.  I now know why my grandmother breathed a sigh of relief, along with a glass of wine, after Christmas dinner.  I know the stress of getting that perfect gift so that you can see the light in their eyes Christmas morning.  I know how tired my feet feel after spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day standing in preparation of a meal that is done in 1 hour.  I too know how good that glass of wine is when all is said and done.  

However, I also know the true reason for the season.  I love watching my kids every day of advent create the nativity scene.  I love when they finally get to put out baby Jesus on Christmas Eve.  I love reading them their Christmas books about joy, compassion, hope, and love.  I know why Christmas occurs and the sacrifice made for us to experience it.  I know that Jesus came with little fanfare and little glory.  The hype that Christmas has become almost cheapens this.  I enjoy the simple.  I enjoy the less.  

This week I finally let the Christmas decorations out early so that I could start to light our Advent candles.  Yes, I'm early but I have been doing the Good Morning Girls Advent Study and this week was on the light.  I wanted to see the light.  The simple candle burning for all to see.  The light representing the hope that was brought into the world.  The simple flame.  The flame that grew to burn around the world.  The flame that continues to burn.  The flame that guides us.  The flame that shines upon each of us.  This is really Christmas.  

This season of advent.  I'm going to look for the simple amongst all the paraphernalia.  I'm going to focus on the flame burning and what that flame represents.  I'm going to focus on the positive in the negative.  I'm going to not become burned out.  I'm going to try to not become Scrooge and allow my heart to be open and not shut.  Won't you join me? 

Have you been avoiding Christmas too?  What are you looking for this season?  Come join the other Java Junkies this week and share in the Christmas Randomness.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Messy Mondays - Blood


It cleans.

It destroys the old and unjust

It wipes away the disgrace.

It breaks the chains

It renews and regenerates.

It brings peace and new life.

Only through Christ's death are we reconciled with the Father.  This was the Father's decision.  He planned this.
This is our intervention. 
We need to choose if we accept or deny.  

For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.  Colossians 1:19-20
Sunday, November 25, 2012

Week 4 - 3 in 30 Update

Just as a reminder for us of what my goals were this month:
1.  Read up to Week 4 of Made to Crave and read the Lean.
2.  Organize my Pantry, Office, Laundry Room and Master Bedroom
3.  No Yelling
I've given up on the first one.  I may roll this over into December.  This could be a blessing or a curse as December is Christmas cooking and food month.  I will be praying that I can make it through.  I've felt very heavy and burdensome this last week.  I am tired of feeling defeated when it comes to food and tired of hating my body.  I did see the doctor this last week for my yearly physical.  It surprisingly was a light spot on my week.  He told me it appeared that I was pretty healthy.  When I said I was overweight, he looked at my chart and said "I've seen worse."  There is hope.

I am almost finished my laundry room.  This week we will be decorating so I can pull out the Xmas bins and sweep and organize that area.  I am very happy with the way it is looking.  I moved some bins and the workbench we have in it.  I labeled all the bins with what was in them.  Even Tman was happy.  He could read what was in each bin.  I was happy because I didn't have to pull off lids of each and every bin to find something.  

This is as close to my laundry room as anyone is going to see.  Just take me at my word.

No yelling....what was I thinking.  I lost it few times this week.  I am tired.  Period.  When I am tired, I get cranky.  When I am cranky.....well you know.  I have done pretty well, but not as well as I want to.  I finally pulled out a jar tonight.  I will be informing the kids that when I yell, I will put in a $1.  If they yell, they will owe me 30 minutes of electronics time.  I think that's fair.  the money at the end of the week will be for a treat for them.  Let's see who wins.

Can't wait to see how everyone else is doing.  Come join us at the 3 in 30 challenge at Welcome to Our Good Life.
Friday, November 23, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - I Won't Give Up


This weekend is my anniversary.  I have written about my anniversary before and the horrible luck we have with it and this year is no different.  My hubby has to work.  However, tonight he redeemed himself by getting me a banana split from Dairy Queen.  He was tired from work and went out and got me one anyway.   

We have been married for 12 years this year.  I can't believe how time has flown, but yet I see it in the lines of our faces.  The smiles of our kids.  Those pesky hereditary grey hairs.

I wish I could say that every year has gotten better then the next.  But marriage is hard work.  Some years have been better than others.  Both members have to give 100% all the time.  Admittedly, I haven't always given my 100%.  I have been selfish.  I have closed communication lines and hid.  I am fallible and human.

Life has thrown a lot in our path.  There have been many ups and downs.  There have been days of stormy seas where we both probably wanted to jump ship.  There have been times when we've committed mutiny against the other.  There have been times when all we could do is hold on for dear life and hope for the best.  

There have been times when those storms have lifted and we have enjoyed the calm.  We have reveled and celebrated all we have been through and accomplished.  We have watched our three blessings grow.  We have seen our best in them.  

The one thing that neither of us have done is quit.  We have held on.  Through good and bad.  I recently heard the song "I won't give up." by Jason Mraz.  This song really was written for us.  It talks about the truth of commitment   Of staying through the times that are rough.  How we learn from them.  How we evolve.  How we are not to give up.  

God brought us together.  We made a commitment.  We honour those commitments, not just for us but for our children.  God knows we are worth it.  He is our strength through times of trouble and our joy in times of prosperity.  

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love

I'm still looking up

Happy Anniversary.

Come join the other Java Junkies in the randomness this week.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday's Voice - China

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Colossians 1:9 NIV84

Please be in prayer for all believers. Please feel free to share any prayer requests or praise requests in the comment section of the post. I would ask that if you read this blog on a Wednesday that you take time not just to pray for those who are persecuted, but also for each other. We may not know each other, but we can take joy in praying for each other and the power that God has when we pray globally. Blessings to you all.

Update: Believers at China's Shouwang Church remain steadfast
(Source: China Aid Association
Shouwang Church in China recently held its 45th outdoor worship service amidst the rain and snow while praising God's faithfulness this year. Church leaders report that while two believers were detained at a hotel and at least 18 more were taken from home or from locations near the service, all have now been released.
It was three years ago, on November 1, that the church held its first service outside in the cold and snow. The government has been thwarting the efforts of the believers to rent a venue for worship ever since  
"God reminded us of His grace through the rain and snow on this third anniversary of that day," wrote church representatives in a letter of praise and appreciation. "On that Sunday, God protected His church, and has been watching and guarding His church in the following battle. Although we are always blind to God's presence in this fierce battle because of our weakness, yet the Lord keeps reminding us through various ways that He is near and is with us."
Please pray that this amazing witness and joy will reach the hearts of unbelievers throughout the region and nation, drawing many to Christ.
Please pray that the Shouwang Church will soon be provided with a safe indoor venue for their worship.
Pray that government officials will respect religious freedom in China.
Sunday, November 18, 2012

3 in 30 - Week 3 Update

It's the beginning of Week 3 for my 3 in 30 goals.  For a reminder of what they are:

1.  Read Made to Crave and the Lean
2. Organize my Pantry, Office, Laundry Room and Master Bedroom
3.  No Yelling.

Oh how I wish I could tell you I had good news on all of them.  It's been a rough week.  I have not picked up Made to Crave since last week.  I am hoping to catch up in the next day or two (wishful thinking though).  I haven't kept up with the Lean.  I need to jump back on that bandwagon.  I have been feeling very BLAH and overweight.  I have been emotionally eating and need to STOP.   If I want to make changes I'm going to have to get serious this week.

I was almost got through the 1/2 the month with no yelling.  But I fell, and fell hard.  I totally lost it on the kids when they were interrupting and badgering me.  I think I need to implement a $1 rule.  Every time I yell I have to pay a jar $1.00 and the money at the end of the month goes to buy the kids an ice cream, if there is any.  I'll have to think of a consequence for them for their yelling and not money but loss of tv or computer time, which they seem to covet.  

Last week I told you I was supposed to clean and organize the laundry room.  That did not happen.  I did however, organize my kitchen desk and the main office.  I even filed and dusted.  It looks great. 

Downstairs Office

Downstairs Office

Kitchen Desk

I know I'm not showing you any before pictures.  But I'm a bit embarrassed about how it was before.  After I cleaned the office I took the kids on a tour and informed them that I expected it to keep looking like that.  

I made time though on Friday to create an entry way bench.

I have been wanting one for a while and decided to make one.  I had a coffee table that someone gave me.  It was the perfect size.   I went to the local thrift store and purchased the two cushions   I don't like the material, but I plan on recovering them eventually when I find my crafting area (another area in my life that I need to organize).  I then scoured the house for a basket to that fit on the shelf.  I found one in the kids room.  It was being used to stash stuff they didn't want to put away.  Now I am using it to put their mittens, toques (it's a Canadian thing) and scarves.  I love the way the bench came out.  I am now inspired to do a post about reusing and recycling.  

Hope everyone is doing good on their goals.  Can't wait to see what's up.

I'm linking into to the 3 in 30 at Welcome to our Good Life.
Friday, November 16, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - Light


This has been a bad week.  I have been struggling.  I have felt tired.  I have felt like I am treading water through stormy seas.  I have felt lifeless.  I have felt alone.

I know these feelings are just that feelings.  They are not truth, but lies that the enemy wants me to believe and embrace.  He wants me to feel like I am in the darkness, the cold.  He wants me to feel alone.  He wants me to draw away from Truth.  He wants me to be in the shawdows.  He wants me to be in the cold.  

These feelings come from a lot of places.  My life.  My past.  My future.   Life is tough.  There are no easy answers.   It is full of uncertainties.  You can never be sure of what you will be given.  You can never be sure of what you will face.  You can either live in the pit or we can jump and take air.  

This week I was taught that by my kids.  We had a large snow fall last week and like typical Southern Alberta weather, we have gone from -10 C to 5 C within a few days.  The snow is melting but it makes great sledding possibilities.  There was no wind on Tuesday and the sun was struggling to come out.  A friend and I decided to take the kids sledding.  We dragged our sleds to the school and walked to the hill.  My kids immediately climbed up the hill and went down.  

I went down the hill a few times.  At first it was frightening.  I was scared.  I wasn't going to be in control.  I was going to go fast.  I could flip off the sled.  I could sled into someone.  These things were going through my head.  I was allowing my fears to control me.

My friend dared me to go down the part of the hill where the kids had built a jump.  I took the dare.  I pushed myself off and flew.  I had no control.  I could have gotten hurt.  I could have.......and I took air.  It was exhilerating.  It was refreshing.   It was life changing.   I had pushed passed the lies that Satan had told me about that hill.  

Life is like that.  You can take the plunge and embrace life and all the possiblities it gives you.

You can live life cautiously and crawl down the hill.

Or you can persevere through the struggles that you face and keep pushing yourself through those obstacles.

God wants us to take air.  He wants us to live a life free from fear.  He wants us to take risks and trust His guidance.  He wants us to embrace the light.  Because only in the light are we truly alive.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that."― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

What are you embracing?  Are you willing to let the light in and take air?  Come join up with the Java Junkies this week and share your randomness.
Sunday, November 11, 2012

Week 2 of 3 in 30

So it is update time for my 3 in 30 goals.  For a quick reminder here they are:

1.  Finish Made to Crave up to week 4 and read the Lean.

2.  Organize Pantry, Laundry Room, Office and Master Bedroom

3.  No Yelling

I slept in and got behind on Made to Crave and the Lean.  I am going to catch up on Made to Crave today and resume the Lean where I was.  I have noticed my thinking about food changing.  I have splurged a few times, but the little Halloween chocolate bars that call me haven't been touched.  However, I did eat a few cup cakes and Plaatz this week.   I have drank lots of water and ate my apple and nuts a day.   I am struggling to eat breakfast.  If I don't eat it by 7 am, it doesn't get done.  I need to definitely get out of bed for 6 am so that I can get my thyroid medication and breakfast in every morning.

The Pantries are organized.  I had already semi organized the kitchen pantry so I just bought a few more baskets for the loose items.  My great accomplishment was the pantry in the laundry room.  I moved it over to a different wall and bought some shelf separators so that I could organize my cans more efficiently.  I love the pantries now.  Moving the laundry room pantry also gave me some great ideas for my laundry room which I am starting tomorrow.  I hope to have it done in a few days.  There isn't really a lot to do.  But definitely some organizing.

I have limited my yelling.  I haven't really yelled that much this week.  In fact, I have purposely stood at the top of the stairs and not called the kids up but have asked the kids to come up.  They seem to be able to hear me, when they want to.  When they don't, I go down and get them.  I have noticed their yelling becoming less as well.   I have informed them that there is a no yelling tolerance this month and when they do yell there will be consequences.  

Overall, I think I am on track.  I know I can catch up in my reading.  I feel like I am getting things accomplished.

I am linking up with the other 3 in 30 ladies at Welcome to our Good Life.
Friday, November 9, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - Are We Forgetting?


Ever since I can remember, I have remembered.  I was taught to respect the day, the reason and those who gave so much for so little.  I remembered wearing my poppy with pride.  I remember being honoured with carrying the wreath.  I remember the honour of carrying our flag during the ceremony.  I remember practicing with the choir the songs we would sing in honour and remembrance.

I am proud to come from a family that served in World War II and the Korean War.  I am proud that my dad served in Afghanistan.  I am proud of a sister who serves in our armed forces.  I am proud of my in laws and the sacrifices they made during the war in occupied Holland.  I am proud of my father in law's uncle, who was a leader in the resistance.  I am proud of those Canadians who liberated them after the long winter of 1944/45. 

Yesterday, I got the pleasure of watching my daughter sing at her school's assembly.  I got to pin the poppy on Tman's shirt.  I watched as children lead the ceremony.   I watched as children, chosen for their citizenship, carried wreaths made in remembrance.  I watched as parents listened to the guest speaker speak of her childhood during the war and the loss of freedom that we take for granted.

I am proud to teach my children the legacy that I was taught.  However, some are not.  Some parents are requesting that their children be exempt from attending these ceremonies.  Some school districts are allowing students to withdrawal.  What happened with honour and respect?  What happened with teaching our children about the sacrifice so many made so that we could enjoy the freedoms we do?  What happened with teaching our children to respect those who serve to protect those same freedoms?  When we forget and disrespect, we take things for granted and begin to become entitled.  We cannot forget.  We cannot become complacent.  We should and must teach the legacy.  We are doomed to repeat, lest we forget.  As for me and my house.......

What do you do to remember?  How do you continue the legacy?  Come join the java junkies and share in the randomness this week. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lost n Found Book Club - Good Wife's Guide

I know I always say I'm bringing it back and then never write about books again.  One of my personal goals with the blog has always to do book reviews of either new or old books that I have read that have either inspired me or made me questions things.  I love to read and do read a lot.  I just can't seem to find the time to blog about them.....must be reading too much.

Earlier this year I was privileged to receive a copy of the Good Wife's Guide by Darlene Schacht, from the Time Warped Wife.  I know, I should have reviewed it way back then.  I just didn't seem to find the time to read it until summer vacation and only now am I able to write a review of it.  (Sorry, Darlene).  

I really enjoyed this book.  It was quick and simple to read.  It made me think a lot about my role in my marriage and my job as a stay at home wife and mother.  It encouraged me in what I have been doing and also encouraged me to re think some things that I do.  I appreciate that Darlene does not get involved in the working mom and the stay at home mom.  I appreciate her value of both moms.  It is too easy to point fingers at each other and Darlene never does this.  She does ask what our motivations are for both though. 

I also enjoyed the fact that she did not preach to me in her book.  Earlier this year I purchased a book that was supposed to get me out of thinking organization and into Christ.  It turns out it was more of a cleaning guideline book.  It made me more stressed than I already was.  Darlene does have some cleaning tips in her book as well she shares how she deep cleans areas in her house.  Never does Darlene say you should do it her way.  She always advocates that this works for her and if you want, to try it. 

I never felt while reading her book that I was doing it wrong or she had all the answers.  I felt like I was sitting in her home and talking to her about what works for her and what doesn't.  When she talks she always focuses on God and His guidance in our marriage, our families and our homes.  That is what it comes downs to - God and His expectations and guidance, not the worlds or our own dreams.  

I would definitely recommend this book.  At no time did I feel deficient in what I was doing and at no times did Darlene ever demean others for their decisions.  She simply guides us to realize that we are called to better through God.  

I am linking up with the Cozy Book Hop this week at the Reading List.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wednesday's Voice - Pakistan

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Colossians 1:9 NIV84
Please be in prayer for all believers.  Please feel free to share any prayer requests or praise requests in the comment section of the post.  I would ask that if you read this blog on a Wednesday that you take time not just to pray for those who are persecuted, but also for each other.  We may not know each other, but we can take joy in praying for each other and the power that God has when we pray globally. Blessings to you all.
Christian woman abducted, forcibly converted in Pakistan

(Sources: Asia News, International Christian Concern)
Shumaila Bibi, 24, is just one among hundreds of Christian women and girls in Pakistan to be kidnapped and tortured into converting to Islam over the past several years. On September 24, Shumaila was on her way home from work when her kidnapper, Muhammad Javaid Iqbal, 26, forced her to go with him. Shumaila had previously shunned Muhammad's advances and his marriage proposal.
The next day, Muhammad and his relatives took Shumaila at gunpoint to a lawyer where she was told to sign statements declaring she had converted to Islam and had married Muhammad. When she refused, she was drugged. While she was unconscious, the lawyer used Shumaila's thumb prints on the documents.
For days afterwards, Shumaila was sexually abused, harassed, and forced to study the Qur'an and the precepts of Islam. She was eventually able to escape on October 5 and return to her parents' home. Muhammad then told police that Shumaila had been kidnapped by her parents, and officials upheld his complaint because of the marriage and conversion documents. Shumaila's father, Mansha Masih, 68, now risks imprisonment for his daughter's "abduction." The National Commission for Justice and Peace has taken up his defence.
Ask God to bring about justice for Shumaila and her father. Pray for the safety and protection of all Christian women and girls in Pakistan who risk being kidnapped and tortured for their beliefs.
 Pray that God will encourage, strengthen, and deliver those being held against their will.
 Pray that Muhammad and his family members will come to know Jesus Christ.
Saturday, November 3, 2012

I'm Joining Again!

So I'm going to do it again. This time though I'm not alone. I'm actually doing it with 3 other friends. I wasn't originally invited either, I pushed my way in.....which is just my M.O. My friends don't mind though. They're excited to have my join. Not that I would care, either way. Ok, I would care if it upset them, but it hasn't. What is it you ask? The 3 in 30 Challenge. 

It's been about a year since I have participated. Things have changed, like it's home. But the rules remain the same. I am to pick 3 things to work on this month and blog about them each week. Here goes.....


I found a pin from Bowl Full of Lemons blog. She has been blogging about organizing different areas of your home for the past two months. I found this challenge about a month after she started and immediately organized my kitchen cupboards. I have enjoyed the organization as I can find things and everything has a home. I especially love my coffee/tea station above my Keurig. My intention was to keep going weekly, but I fell off the bandwagon as soon as I jumped on it. So I want to continue to on. 

I won't be doing the garage as we don't have one, so I will be skipping week two and moving down the list. This month I will be working on my pantry, office, laundry room and master bedroom.


I really need to lose some weight. Ok, I really need to lose 20 lbs. Don't panic my goal is not to lose 20 lbs this month, though that would awesome. I really just want to work on why I am overeating and get some new healthy habits going. I bought Made to Crave a year ago, along with the study guide. I've only done week one. For some reason, I never get past the first week. This month I liked to finish up to week four.

I'm also going to follow the Lean program. Again I bought it and only got through the first week.  This is not a diet, but a program of getting healthy eating habits into your lifestyle in 30 days. I won't be following everything she suggests as she is a vegan and pushes that lifestyle. I really enjoy meat. So on the days she suggests substituting veggies for meat, I will do it for the day, but won't do it for the duration.


This is one of my original 3 in 30 challenge goals. I'm still yelling. I don't want to be that person. I don't want to be a nag to my husband or children. There is nothing positive that comes from yelling. In fact the only thing that comes from yelling is my kids yelling. This has been happening too much around here lately. I read the Duggar's book “A Love that Multiplies”. Michelle Duggar doesn't yell when she's angry. She whispers. I'm going to try this. I am also not going to yell to call them upstairs, but go and get them. Nothing annoys me as asking one of the kids to get the others and having them yell at them. I need to emulate good manners to get my kids to change too.

Come join in at Welcome to Our Good Life and make some good changes

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - Finally, They Have One for Us


One of my favourite children's book is “Click, Clack, Moo. Cows that Type”. I love the cows and the chickens and especially the duck. Oh that duck. I also own Thump, Quack, Moo: A whacky adventure”, starring the same duck. I feel so sorry for Farmer Brown in each of them. The animals always seem to get the upper hand just when he thinks he has won. I think the author, Doreen Cornin, really understands that families want to enjoy reading books together. The humour is not dumbed down for the kids, but is multi-layered so that adults will enjoy it.

This past week, during our family trip to the library, I picked up a new book called M.O.M (The MomOperating Manuel). I thought the premise was hilarious and thought my daughter would enjoy it. It was only after I got the book home, did I realize that Ms. Cronin had written it also. 

M.O.M. Is written to children about how they can properly care and feed their mothers - physically and emotionally through SNEW (Sleep, Nutrition, Exercise and Water). I mean how many books are there about parenting and caring for our children. It was about time that they start reading books about caring for us. It shows the level of tiredness that we moms face and how kids can help us. They also come with warnings for not just the kids but dads too (like dad not commenting on our clothes).

I laughed my way silly through this book. My daughter also laughed through this book. It has opened up doors of communication. Like what to do during a major malfunction (Ms. Cronin recommends escape). I will admit that I lost it the other morning. When talking to Nicole after, I asked if she remember what to do during major malfunctions. “Hide!” I reminded her to take her brothers with her.

Nicole's favourite part of the book is how to camouflage oneself if you are dealing with a minor malfunction. There were suggestions on how to blend into the houses' interior. I think that may be why she has been closing the door to the office when she and Thomas are on the computers. Or maybe they are just trying to stop me from finding out how much time they are actually on the computers. 

What book have you picked up lately?   Was it funny?  Was it informative? 

 Come link up with the other java junkies and share your randomness this week.  I'm linking up with Marissa at the Reading List and her great reading meme, The Cozy Book Hop.  I  hope you will go visit her and her other reading junkies.  They have some great reading ideas.  

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Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

Mini Me

Mini Me





Friends and Neighbours

Where I travel