Conversations With "The Clash" and Hagrid


Teddy: Mommy, write this down. Got it? How do you know black people are bad?

Me: What? I don't know that. I don't think that.

Teddy: It isn't for you. Listen, ask the people why they think that? No one asks to be white or black. Black people are good. There are white people that are good and white people that are bad.

Lucy: If you say white people are bad, they are going to be mad.

Teddy: Delete what I said, Mommy. People have control over their own bodies. They can be good and bad. White people do not have the color of skin that can do zero bad.

Lucy: Everyone is bad a little bit, sometimes, Bubba.

Teddy: Well, I know that.

**Then Teddy "stabbed Lucy with a pencil" as she dramatically declared.**

Me: Teddy, we all make mistakes, no matter what color of skin we have. Clearly. You just made a very bad decision.

Teddy: I didn't mean to!

Me: You weren't thinking. But listen to me, we all need to love and respect one another no matter what skin color we have. We are all human. We all have feelings and dreams and pain. We need to learn to listen to each others stories...

Then we spoke at length about Hagrid from Harry Potter. Teddy and I imagined how startling he would have appeared if we met him when Harry did. He is a giant, you see, and his size and appearance might have been off-putting. But Hagrid was/is Teddy's favorite and most loveable character.

We spoke about Snape and how we were led to believe he was a bad guy through the whole book, but it ended up that he saved Harry Potter's life, sacrificed himself, and had loved Harry's mother...always.

And Dobby. Oh, Dobby. What an ugly looking creature with a heart of gold.


These were our mid-morning school break meanderings.

I hope they bless your heart.

Love people.

Love them and hear their stories.

~Gia
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There Are Days When... :: Ramblings


 There are days when you champion for all the hurting people...all the people that are being oppressed and mistreated.

There are days when you take showers and are nearly finished when you suddenly become aware that there has been a very large, soggy spider at your feet the entire time.

There are days when you try to text all the tender-hearted people in your life to make sure they know you were thinking about them and that you love them; you make sure they're hanging in there and keeping their chin up.

There are days when you get really mad a strangers for refusing to accept the truth that there were in fact black lawyers and black doctors and black teachers and professors BEFORE the Civil War.

There are days when you want to hide under a rock and shut the whole, giant, big ugly world out.

There are days when Teddy cannot make head nor tails of Fahrenheit versus Celsius and declares it is because, "I suffer from almost No Term Memory!"

There are days that weigh a lot, and there are days that practically see you floating along...

And then there are days where there are happy little clouds among the rainclouds, and happy little trees hidden among the dead ones.

Perspective.

Life.

But how beautiful it is.

Even with the good and the bad, and the struggle and the pain. 

~Gia
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Gia's British Shenanigans

I've never seen the movie Bad Moms, but I imagine I could have been an extra in the flick this past weekend. Don't believe me? Well, if you look back closely at my posting schedule, I missed a day. I flat out fell off the writing wagon and missed an entire day in this 90 day challenge. Not only that, by the one before this, was written by Roger.

Yep.

I cheated.

But why, Gia?

Well, if you're a homeschooling mother and life has been particularly tense, don't make stupid decisions such as listening to your husband when he sends you out for the evening. It doesn't matter that it's a place that has books, because they also have brews. And it doesn't matter if you go out with your baby brother...

Trouble can still happen. 

What kind of trouble?

Me. 

With a terrible British accent for two and a half hours. 

Whatever. I don't care if it was terrible, it was beautiful as well.


 I have to admit that I woke up Saturday feeling feisty and up for adventure. Whenever I feel that way again, I am going to smother it with a pillow.


Honestly, Books & Brews was one of the coolest places I've been to in a while. It had this rad Harry Potter theme going on. 


Book themed brews. Amazing. That one Augusts Guys thing...

Yeah, that's the one I had. 


They're marveling over how great our buddy, Tommy sings. 


And this is our buddy, Tommy. He is pretty rad. He even spontaneously wrote us a song about Beyonce. We laughed. We cheered. We made all the noise in support and encouragement. I did so with my lovely and beautiful British accent. 

Shut up, Taylor.


The coolest thing about this place was that there were all kinds of board games to play. I hadn't played LIFE since I was a kid and was super excited to play it again. If Taylor and Matthew were unhappy about it, it was their own fault. They told me I could choose whatever I wanted. 


"Taylor and Loni, sitting in a tree.." 


Matthew wasn't happy about his paycheck as a doctor...


But me? Well, I don't know what I'm teaching, but I had a pretty great payday. 


Then, Loni and Taylor had a baby boy. I don't know what they named it. It was precious, though. 


Matthew had all the bad luck. Probably, he got sued or labeled a "quack"...


So upset. :)


Look at all my good luck!!!


Until Taylor stole me income card and gave me her lousy one as a professional athlete. 


While Taylor and I went up to see the books in the loft, Matthew packed up our game we were only half way though. I never even got to marry anyone or have kids.

Dog-gone-it.

So my accent got worse and I made even more commotion. After that, the waitresses came over to our table, all somber and serious and told us they needed to speak to us. I pouted a little, certain I'd gotten us kicked out. However, it turns out, they wanted  us to know we needed to become regulars.

But I won't.

Because I am 34 years old. I have three beautiful children....

And I cannot keep up with wild shenanigans. 

Oh! And in LIFE, I one $150,000 for writing won of "America's Best Selling Novels."  I thought that was a little cheap, though.

I also met several people who knew Roger. I tried to make a good first impression. I did. Good or bad, they certainly won't forget me.

Now I become a hermit. 

~Gia
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An Easy Day's Night

I had the immense pleasure of seeing a fantastic performance today! Longtime friend and friend of the family Tommy was playing at a local brewhouse. It was amazing and I wish to heaven that all of my friends could have been there. Connecting with old friends, meeting new ones, creating memories. I can't tell you what a precious time we had, but I want to at least share a small bit of what Tommy brought. Please enjoy one of Roger's favorite tunes and have an amazing night!

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Thank You, Mister President


 Maybe you didn't hear that today is now a very special day? Today the president issued an official proclamation declaring August 26th as Women's Equality Day. He has called upon the people of the United States to celebrate the achievements of women and promote gender equality.

It's the year 2016.

Goodness sakes, it takes us a terribly long time to grow, doesn't it? From the Suffragette movement of the 1800's to an official day celebrating women and equality. That's a long span of time.

I've never considered myself a feminist. I guess that's probably because I have spent 34 years of my life wanting to please everyone around me, make them proud of who I am. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had the distinct impression that I could not do this while being "pro-women" or stand on feminist principals. No one really likes feminists, do they? The word is somewhat of a dirty word. It makes people think of women that hate men, refuse to wear bras and shave their legs. They are strong, opinionated and loud women.

Well, the latter is me. Whoops.

Try as I might to please everyone around me, I always screwed it up. Since I was little, I would stand up with tears in my eyes and defend someone with a depth of passion that left me trembling. I didn't just defend people though, I also defended my ideas and my thoughts. I always felt rather ridiculous for it; I knew I was a joke in other people's eyes.

Now here I am. I'm 34 years old and still burning with a depth of emotion and passion and ideas and thoughts. I never did figure out how to keep it all locked up in a box. I've been making all the waves, all the messes, and getting my family and I somewhat kicked out of all the establishments. We can't last long...because Gia is emotional.  She's stubborn. She's bull-headed.

Yep. I am.

And I love it.

I am growing into a feminist.

And that's okay.

I read this today in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "We Should All Be Feminists" and I would like to share this small excerpt:

So in a literal way, men rule the world. This made sense--a thousand years ago. Because human beings lived then in a world in which physical strength was the most important attribute for survival;  the physically stronger person was more likely to lead. And men in general are physically stronger. (There are of course many exceptions.) Today, we live in a vastly different world. The person more qualified to lead is not the physically stronger person. It is the more intelligent, the more knowledgeable, the more creative, more innovative. And there are no hormones for those attributes. A man is as likely as a woman to be intelligent, innovative, creative. We have evolved. But our ideas of gender have not evolved much.

Roger has been the queen feminist in our home. He is the one that has gently directed me to move in whichever direction I want, say what I want, do what I want, be who I want to be. He makes sure that I don't feel the need to apologize for being who I am: passionate and full of emotions. If anything, he has shown me how these things make me unique, strong and irreplaceable. How funny that it has been him to help me be okay with being a feminist.

We are a team. 

We are hand-in-hand. 

We are equally needed in each others lives. 

And if anything, Roger hasn't just allowed me to stand as an equal beside him, but has very much lifted me higher--giving me a place of honor.

Today I learned about the president's proclamation through my husband. I am pleased that he finds such beauty and honor and respect in highlighting women. I am pleased that we get to celebrate this day together as a feminist husband and wife team, raising three strong feminist as well.


 What an adventure!

"Nearly one century ago, with boundless courage and relentless commitment, dedicated women who had marched, advocated, and organized for the right to cast a vote finally saw their efforts rewarded on August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment was certified and the right to vote was secured. In the decades that followed, that precious right has bolstered generations of women and empowered them to stand up, speak out, and steer the country they love in a more equal direction. Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of this hard-won achievement and pay tribute to the trailblazers and suffragists who moved us closer to a more just and prosperous future, we resolve to protect this constitutional right and pledge to continue fighting for equality for women and girls."

~President Obama, August 26, 2016


~Gia

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Though Some Deem Me Wicked, I Am Not Sorry

I am very Scottish and this brings me immense satisfaction. My maternal grandfather’s line stretches all the way back to clan Ewing (spelled various ways). My paternal grandmother’s line stretch back to clan Campbell. Being Scottish is pretty rad if you ask me. I like Scotch eggs. I like pints of ale. I like redheads and bagpipes and kilts. I also love the pictures of the rolling hills covered in heather and thistle…



I mean, this is pretty much me in real life:


But what has me jazzed today is finding out that one of the scariest women of all history lived in Scotland.

Oh, hush. She’s of no relation to me.

Ready for this?

READY?

The scariest woman of all history was named Violet Spears.


Rats.

My Great grandmother’s maiden name was Spears…but she was French.

Anyway, back to Violet.



Violet was born Elgin, Scotland in 1839. She was a sprightly child with a wide scope for imagination. She loved to draw and dance and sing and perform her own theatrical productions for her family. All that changed when she married at the young age of fifteen. By the time she was 22, she had four children. For a girl with so much love of life, beauty, adventure and creativity, this couldn’t have been easy.

Violet was tired of having children and apparently made it impossible to chance becoming pregnant by refusing her husband’s advances. Rumors had it that because of this, her husband began to stray. But not for long. Tragically, he met his death during a hunting accident. Violet was only 33 years-old when she became a widow.

As was the custom of the day, Violet and her children went into their mourning period. They lived with her sister and remained cloistered away from society—surrounded by gloomy darkness and black clothes. Again, Violet was forced to forgo the colorful parts of herself that loved to be put on display and entertain boisterous crowds. But on the second anniversary of her husband’s death, the day the mourning would end, Violet ran away and never wore black again.

Violet didn’t take her children with her. Perhaps mothering was to dull for her? Whatever the case, she ran away without telling her family where she had gone or where she would be. She built a new life for herself—one in which she would be the center of attention and be able to entertain as vivaciously as she pleased. But not only did she build a new life for herself, but also a new home deep down in the dark, damp depths of the Edinburgh vaults.



Violet, the great entertainer that she was, and with her penchant for theatrics, began to perform seances for Edinburgh locals. She employed new technology to make her seances top-notch, including this little trick:


Violet required those that attended her seances to contribute to a blood ritual. She collected some blood from all those in attendance and drank it, claiming that it renewed and refreshed her--bringing to her very spirit something she had been lacking. Soon, she had quite the following and many adoring fans came to live with her underground too, calling themselves The Hive. Violet was their queen.


The Hive members took over the nightlife of Edinburgh and lured curious bystanders into their lairs, getting them drunk and high and gaining access to their blood. Soon, those that visited The Hive all bore the tell-tale mark of the bloodletting device used to gently open the vein.

The Hive was everything that spooky legends are made of until a government official’s son was killed by an infection due to bloodletting. Soon, The Hive broke up, but Violet lived on in the vaults as comfortable as she could with only a handful of faithful admirers. When she died, she was refused burial on consecrated ground. Her loyal friends buried her and made the grave marker on their own.



What were Violet’s final thoughts on her deathbed? Well, she left this confession behind:

I poisoned my fifth child in the womb. I am not sorry.
I plugged the barrel of my husband’s rifle. I am not sorry.
I am sorry for poor Daniel’s death, I should have looked after him better.
Except for these, I hurt no one, though I am deemed by some to be wicked.

I am not sorry.


Yeah. I am proud to be Scottish.


~Gia
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Today's Memorial Of The Missed Things :: And Evil Sharpies

When you wake up to grumpy children being grumpy about life, being grumpy about squeaky noises, being grumpy about anyone breathing or eating or opening and closing their eyes.

When you secretly want to play hooky because the sun is hidden behind dreary rain clouds and it would be a perfect time to finish that epic drama you were watching on Monday but didn’t have the time to finish.

When it would be the perfect time to finish that doily who’s pattern started to equate to rocket science—or had the cure to cancer woven in it’s jargon.

When it would be the perfect time to crack open one of the three thick books you checked out from the library and wishfully thought you’d have the time to read…

When it would be the perfect time to listen to Bob Ross and try again to make that Irish lighthouse not look just dreadful…

When your toddler waltzes out of her sibling’s bedroom with an open black sharpie in one hand and looking very much like living, walking modern art.




When you seriously consider the beauty in surviving on strong black coffee and nothing else. Maybe poached eggs. Maybe spicy ramen. Maybe curry.

Never mind. We still like food.

So here is the memorial to all the Gia things…to all the wishful things…to all the beautiful things that will not be touched today.



Well, except for the coffee. That’s life. Coffee is life.



~Gia
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Angry Blogging About Taylor :: And Other Tales


 "Snap! I still have to blog!"

Taylor cuts her eyes in my direction, all lazy and asks, "You gonna angry blog about me?"

"Angry blog?"

"Yeah. Angry blog. What are you going to angry blog about me?"

Sigh. "Why don't you dictate a blog for me?"

"That's not how it works."

I slap her *playfully in the shoulder * and she gets mad. Drama Queen. "Give me the laptop. Just give it to me."

"Stop hitting me!"

"Give me the laptop!"

Roger hands it to me. I open it. We sit here. Taylor begins to read over my shoulder and chuckles. "You're ridiculous!" As if this is surprising. "What?! I didn't say "angry" blog!"

"Yes, you did. You asked me if I was going to angry blog about you."

She's frowning now, scooping London up in her arms. "No, I didn't. I asked you if you were going to blog about me."

I shrug, unfazed. "That's not what I heard. My blog, my story, Sucker!"

Now she has walked off. I can tell you all the dirt on Taylor Coonce. She loves too hard. Like, she almost sucks all the love right out of your lungs and hoards it for herself. That's how she gets her superhero powers of singing. You knew that was a superhero power, right? You didn't? Well then you've not heard her sing. It is magical. Powerful! Superhuman...

But anyway, the only way she can sing like this is if she goes around and sucks all the love right out of your lungs. So you have to keep your lips sealed or punch her in the face when she comes near you. Or scream really loud and RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!

Yuck.

I kinda made that all creepy and gross, eh?

Ugh.

She's back. Sat right down beside me. Now I have to be careful about what I say.

So, I will say nothing.

I'm angry at Taylor Coonce.

I am angry blogging about her.

She's the worst.

~Gia

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Poop, Pee, and Our First Day of School!!

Everyone was so excited. They couldn't wait for school to start. That's how you know it probably isn't going to go that well.

We wake up and Lucy's eyes are rimmed in red. For a moment, I think she has blackened eyes. They are puffy and awful looking. It's just a side affect of the medication and awful sleep. She's always tired these days. So, it is not surprising that she began to meltdown before we even started a single lesson.


It took until about 10:30 for things to calm down. I held Lucy for a little while and reminded her that I love her. She cried and said she was sorry...

Goodness, I hate to see her dealing with all of this. She's a sweet girl. She deserves peace of mind and spirit.

I start leading Lucy through a few lessons and Teddy is working with clay on the front porch. Teddy screams for me and says, "Mommy, London took off her pants and pooped everywhere!"

Yay! The day is going great!

So I clean the little stinker up and then she pees in her pants. Twice.


And we just try to power through the day, pausing for pizza breaks, coffee breaks, and potty breaks (London never did pause for the potty break). 

 

Teddy found it difficult to concentrate with London in his booty. To be fair, she lost her balance and toppled over and couldn't get back up.


"So, uh, hey mommy. I know that it's been a rough day with me peeing and pooping everywhere but the toilet, but I'm tired and won't stop screaming until you've let me inside your shirt like a kangaroo.

Yep.

Great first day.

~Gia
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Night Before School

Well, tomorrow starts school.

I don't feel there's anything else I need to write here today. School should be enough...

And I have this foreboding sense of dread. The children are so excited, but when they're so excited, things usually go wrong. They're expectations are too high. I didn't even get Lucy's computer set up.

Ugh.

So, stay tuned.

That is all.

~Gia
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Just Enjoying The Waves

For my birthday, I was going to finally go to Flix Brewhouse to see a movie. At the last minute, we asked my baby brother to come along with us. He was running errands so he was going to meet us over there. After we dropped the children off with my mom, we headed towards the highway...and the heavens opened up and unleashed a monsoon.

We get off the exit safely and I tell Roger, "I think we're going to be early."

"A little bit," he answers.

Then we turn at a green light and drive into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Suddenly there are waves and rushing water and the car engine cuts off.

This has always been one of my biggest nightmares: driving off into deep water and being trapped in my car. I've even planned my emergency exit and told myself never to forget it.

I forgot it. 

Good thing the dark, deep, rushing water was only maybe six engines deep. Engines? *Inches*

Roger turns on the emergency flashers and we try to start the car. The engine doesn't even try to turn over. We call for roadside assistance and sit there in the middle of the road. Other cars seems to fear for their lives when they see our's broken and bruised washing about in the waves...the treacherous currents threatening to sweep us away to our deaths.


Maybe it wasn't that bad, but the cars still turn around and head for higher ground.

After a while of sitting there, another car appears beside us. I look over and it's my brother in his little sports car. I have to open the door to hear him through the window. "What's going on," he asks, perplexed and a little panicked."My car stopped running!"

"It's this flash flood," I shrug back. "You're stranded now, but at least you have me stranded with you. You won't have to die alone. I'm here."


 I don't think Matthew thought any of this was very funny, and I don't think he remembered his emergency plan for when violent and treacherous waters sweep him away in his tiny, useless sports car. 

Matthew tells me that parts of my car are dying and falling off. I brave the storms, roll up my pants and climb into the white water rapids. Risking life and limb, I save my poor van's mud flaps from dangerous screaming eels...

After a while, we start to realize we're holding up traffic--the stupid drivers that want to risk stalling out alongside us--stupid drivers who remember their emergency plans (they have those fancy windshield-shattering hammers under their driver's seats), or drivers who look for ways to laugh in the face of danger.

Sigh.

Roger takes off his shoes and socks and wades out into the danger with me. Lightning flashes. We could be struck at any second! But we're fearless, laughing and giggling as we push Matthew's cute little car to higher ground.

Maybe the lightning was far away...

So I walk back to our van and lean against the bumper and cross my arms and ankles, casually just enjoying the feel of the waves around my ankles. A man in a huge beast of a truck easily waltzes up through the deep waters and pauses beside me. "How you doin'?" he asks.

I shrug a shoulder. "Ah, you know, just enjoying the beautiful weather."

"You need pulled outta there?" he asks.

"I'm okay hanging out here. I think someone is coming."

He drives away. Easily. No emergency plan needed in a whale of a truck like that.

Then, Roger and I push our poor van up to high ground where Matthew is waiting, holding his breath, praying that we make it.

And we do!

Thank God!

I lived through one of my biggest fears! I defeated my own fright! I survived the depths of swirling water, violent and powerful!

Alright, fine. 

I've exaggerated.

And by the time we walked back to the cars from the movie theater (located on higher ground) and had our tickets for the missed show refunded, THE WATER WAS COMPLETELY GONE!


 It was like it was a mirage!

An Oasis!

But not the rad Wonderwall kind, or even the kind that has palm trees and sand...

 Just the kind of Oasis with water.

Anyway.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GIA!!!! 



~Gia
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Birthday Eve :: Having Peace

It's the eve before my 34th birthday.

Last week, I found a silver hair. It glittered rather nicely in the afternoon light. I pulled it just to see if it truly was silver--and it was.

Yes, I choose to say "silver" rather than white, and you're not allowed to say anything.

The whole ordeal intrigued me. People get afraid, I think, when they realize they're getting older. I don't think it's so much that they're afraid of death, but rather they're afraid at how quickly getting older came. Were we not just in grade school? Wasn't just yesterday our high school graduation? How on earth did we go from being old enough to buy a pack of smokes to suddenly spotting a silver hair in our red curls?

For me, the fear is that I might be running out of time to achieve all my goals. I have lofty goals, too. Will I accomplish all of it? Will I be extraordinary? Will I leave a mark here on this little earth?

I tell myself just to be kind, do what is right, and love others. Those things will ensure that I achieve something good. Perhaps I won't achieve all of my personal goals--in fact, I'm certain I will not--but those three pegs from which everything else hangs will be enough.

Those three things are life giving. 

I'm okay with that.

So on the eve of my 34th birthday, I am content to sit here in my living room as my little family watches a movie, drink coffee much too late in the day, and think about cracking open a book.


Because you know what else is coming too soon? Monday. And Monday is our first day of school.

~Gia
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Miss Sarah :: The Princess


Tonight, I worked with this beautiful and spunky little senior, class of '17. Sarah just had a major spinal surgery and is one incredibly strong young lady.


I asked her mom what Sarah's hobbies were. She loves music and artsy things and wants to become an interior designer. I asked what her style would be described as and she said bohemian.

Say what? 

She's after my heart! Boho chicks are the coolest!


Before the session, I walked around the house and tried to look for props that might be a little "boho" and I'm not certain as to why, but I snatched up the tea-stained flag. Sarah rocked it (we were VERY careful to handle it respectfully, just FYI). 

And, of course, I like weeds and Sarah didn't mind posing in the weeds with Queen Anne's Lace framing her on the right. That looks about as vintage Americana as you can get. I love it!


Look at those beautiful eyes! I kept going on and on about how cute she is. I'm sure she was more than a little creeped out. Hey, whatever it takes to distract the young lady from the old lady with the camera that's sweating and keeps getting bitten by sweat bees. And can we talk about the frogs?!


Alright, alright. I got a little "preachy" with Sarah at one point. As I was walking out the door, I snatched up the kintsugi mug. I explained to her that growing up can be REALLY hard and sometimes it's difficult to keep hold of our faith. So, when that starts to happen--when you start to want to turn away from God and give up--you have coffee or tea and ask God to sit with you. Anytime you do this, a sweet presence and peace will wash over you. Yet, still, life can be hard. Life can still tarnish the promises God weaves through our lives, it can still steal our happiness and leave us feeling broken. I explained to her about my promise mug (teapot) that has the crack in it and told her about the incredible Japanese art of Kintsugi. I had her sit and hold the cup and I took her portrait. Hopefully, she will remember this photo and what it means years from now when she feels broken and empty.

There is still beauty.

There is still hope.

There is still the promise of God's love in the dark, painful moments...

I hope she never forgets my silly story.


Sarah, in Hebrew your name means Princess. I believe that that's how The Lord sees you. You, my dear, are His princess. You make Him smile. He shows you off...marveling over the beauty that you, his precious daughter, are to Him.

You are deeply loved. Perfectly made.

To God the Father, no one could ever replace you.

You will leave this world more beautiful. 

~Gia
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