Posted by: grantahelms | June 24, 2014

The enemy within

” Silently and steadily the weight pressed on him. It was like no pain that he had ever felt before. It was there, but it wasn’t. How could he explain it? It was like a cloud or a fog enveloping him. Smothering him. Causing his lungs to ache with the extreme pressure that was being placed on them. Yet there was nothing there. During the daytime, it wasn’t as bad. He could work and focus on something else. He could breathe. And he would breathe deeply, knowing that as the sun began to fall he would begin choking. Yet there was nothing there. Nothing that he had ever experienced had prepared him for this battle. For this enemy. How did others cope? How would he survive? No one had ever taken the time to talk to him about this. They had preached about God. They had taught him about sex. Someone had even taken the time to teach him about love. But no one had ever taken the time to teach him, or even warn him about this invisible enemy. And like death, everyone eventually faces this battle. And this enemy known as Loneliness.”

 

SONY DSC

 

It has been two weeks since I started this lonely path. At first it was absolutely awesome. I had much to do. Much to clean. Much to make how I wanted it. But as the days progressed, and the work became less and less, I found myself wanting. Wanting to come home and find something where I didn’t put it. Wanting a dish pan full of dishes to wash. Wanting to cook for more than myself. Wanting to touch, to feel and to talk. Nothing had ever prepared me for this. And that is the point. Loneliness and death run on parallel planes and no one wants to talk about them. And when they do, it’s usually a stupid or unfeeling comment. “I know how you feel.” Or ” It will get better with time.” Or maybe my favorite, “Go out and find someone new to occupy your time.” It’s like those who are trying to advise you have no concept. Probably because they don’t.

It’s really funny though. I’ve always prided myself on being a loner. I like to go fishing by myself. I like to work by myself. Grass cutting, hikes, back packing trips, long highway trips. All these things I like being alone. Why? Because I don’t have the patience to teach others. I don’t like stopping for a bathroom break every 100 miles. I don’t want to have to cook and clean for everyone in the woods when I’m relaxing. And I don’t want to put the worm on YOUR hook. Do it yourself. So in a way I would just consider myself to be selfish. And recently my selfishness was pointed out to me. By several people, most of which I couldn’t care less. But one in particular cut me to the core, as she always does. I was more preoccupied with my own “pity party” to consider what she was feeling or the gamut of emotions she was going through. And she was right. She also took the time to warn me of this enemy that I call Loneliness. But nothing prepared me for the full onslaught that was to follow.

 

battles

 

 

Quiet

At first it starts out slowly like a small wave crashing on the beach. Or like when you are in the woods and suddenly all the birds stop chirping and the crickets get silent. It is a sign of something out-of-place. Something that is just not right. In my case, it was noise. The fact is, I’ve NEVER been alone. I lived with my Mom and Dad, went to prison and lived in a barracks with 100 other guys, then to my brother’s house. From here I traveled to Tennessee where I lived with a man and his family that I was working for. This is where I met my first wife. After we separated I went back to my brother’s until I met my second wife. Over the next 24 years we had 4 children and had multiple families staying with us for undetermined periods of time. It was never silent. Then last November I left and moved in with my friend, her children and 3 dogs. Once again I was surrounded by noise. It has been the common factor in my life for the last 46 years.  But suddenly, it was quiet. However, quiet is just one part of the issue with loneliness.

Service

I had never thought much about the things that I did around the house, unless I was complaining about it. And that went for any house that I lived in. Why could all of the dishes not be clean? Why could the laundry never get done? Why was I always cooking for an army? Wait a minute, if I am the only one working why am I having to do any of these things? I always said if I had to do everything, I may as well be by myself. And now I am. And I miss picking up behind the children. I miss washing tubs of dishes. I miss cooking for an army. But now one thing is certain. If I do any of these things, I do them on my terms. I am no longer forced to do these things out of necessity. However, it is still lonely.

Touch

The thing I miss the most that makes the loneliness so hard is touch. Not necessarily the sexual kind as you may think, but touch in general. The welcome home kiss. Holding hands as we sit at the table talking. The children giving you a hug and kiss at bed time. Bumping into each other in the kitchen as we cook together. Long soaks in the tub with a glass of wine discussing the day as it melts away. The children sitting on your lap watching a movie. All of these are memorable. And all these memories are cherished.

What now?

The first gift that I had to combat the loneliness was a 65 pound “puppy” named Bacchus. I balked at the thought. He is stubborn and hardheaded to a fault. He chews everything. In general, he’s a pain in the ass. And he is becoming my best friend. Through our time together we are forming a bond to where we understand each other. He has stopped using the bathroom in the house and now understands what the word bed means. He used to fight it. Now he goes with no argument. And I have learned how to notice his body language and to understand when he tells me (growls) that he needs to use the bathroom. Second, for both of our benefit, I have gotten a radio that plays 24 hours a day. That way the house isn’t silent when I walk in, and he can hear noise while I’m at work. Many nights we sit and watch one of the ten movies that I now own. When I lie on the couch he tries to join me, but his is not the touch I want to feel. Service has been a hard issue also. It seems like when my children come to visit me that they want to bring me supper. I can’t complain. It feels like they are giving back to me for all the past years. When I get really bored, I pull all of the dishes (1/10th of what I’m use to) out of the cupboards and wash them. 45 minutes of washing dishes makes me remember why it is my most hated job. And as I said before, touch is the real issue for me. To combat this I have watched my grandson one night. I have seen my children several times and gotten hugs from them. It helps, but it’s not the same. They love me, but it’s not the same. I wake in the morning hugging the pillow. I then have to remember that this is the first day of the rest of my life, and I get up and start all over again. But it makes me feel for those who have been married for years to have their “true love” die. How do they carry on? Who can truly understand how they feel? Do we care, or are we too busy with our own lives or loss? I am moving on one day at a time. That’s all I know how to do. If anyone has suggestions, please feel free to comment

” Have you ever experienced the kind of loneliness that I have discussed here?”

” If so, how did you combat it and move on?”

” Have you checked on a lonely neighbor or family member lately to see if they need anything? You may find that all they need is someone to listen and give a hug.”

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I would really appreciate any good suggestions. Finding out who you are is hard enough without having this extra battle to fight. And just remember to tell those you love just exactly how much they mean to you every day. You never know when they will be gone.

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Posted by: grantahelms | June 23, 2014

FYI

I have decided that I can’t stop. The only thing is that all the words are a jumbled mess in my head right now. When I get them straightened out, I’ll get back to you. Many may not like the change of venue that is coming. Please feel free to stop following now. I’ll catch you in a few days.

caution

Posted by: grantahelms | May 13, 2014

Farewell

Two and a half years ago I made my first post on this blog. It was a new thing to me. It was scary. But I think it was a good thing. In this amount of time we have run the gamut. Osama Bin Laden, abortion, religion, child abuse, housing issues, life, love and many other things. I have enjoyed the comments and debates. But alas, it is time for me to depart. My heart is no longer in it. Thank you for your comments, likes, dislikes and friendships. I shall carry these memories into any future endeavors. Forever yours, Grant

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Posted by: grantahelms | March 4, 2014

Take a vote

argument

 

Now that the trolls have begged me to open up, and I did, I begin to wonder if I should really bash my wife with this blog. I have reviewed my posts since leaving her, and I haven’t found one bash. So I think turn around is fair play. But for the sake of fair play, I will leave it up to you, my readers, to make that decision. Please proceed to the polls.

Since I have been accused already…

The polls will be open until 12pm EST on Saturday. At this time I will begin the next post. Please feel free to leave a comment telling me why you think I should or shouldn’t bash her. Have a great week.

Posted by: grantahelms | March 3, 2014

Trolls

Have you ever seen one of these nasty little creatures that hides out until you think the coast is clear? They like to hide under bridges and behind rocks so that the birds don’t know they are around. Therefore the birds sing their peaceful melody which lulls you into a false sense of security. Once you are relaxed, they pounce! Such is my life today.

Trolls

Wow! I never knew these things existed. But Lord of the Rings can’t be wrong, can it? As some of you know, I left home on November the twelfth. It was a time of contemplation. A time to gather my thoughts and look toward the future. All I asked was the opportunity to have time to think. Four days. Is that asking too much? Evidently it was. Of course I suppose I could understand my wife’s dilemma. I did leave in the middle of the night. And I was staying at a female’s house. And I had cheated on her before. Okay, she had reason to worry.

So now let’s inspect the reasons for my being there. 1) She is my best friend. Someone I could talk to about anything. Someone who doesn’t judge me, doesn’t belittle me and cares about my innermost feelings. 2) I was in the middle of a project at work. I couldn’t drive the 80-150 miles a day from my brother’s or my parent’s to do the job. 3) She needed a babysitter for her children the next day, and my son cancelled on her. Since I do not like conflict, and my wife had already been accusing us of adultery, I left in the middle of the night. No arguments! 4) Above all else, this is where I wanted to be to have an impartial person to discuss my feelings with. I couldn’t get that from my church family, my parents or my wife.

Don't feed the trollNow, I’m going to break all the rules. I am going to feed the troll! The troll wants me to talk about all my shortcomings on my blog, and I’m going to do it. The troll says that I have been “bashing” my wife on this blog (which I don’t see), and they want me to confess about myself. So, here we go. Where shall I start? At the beginning I suppose.

In August of 1967 I was born. Over the years I became a very talented liar, as my parents will attest. At thirteen, I started smoking. At sixteen, I started drinking liquor and smoking pot. In 1985, I was drunk one morning and started a fire. Three buildings burned, and I was charged with arson. I spent eighteen months in prison. Shortly after my release, I went to Tennessee to start a new job. Here I met my first wife. Unfortunately, after one year I found that she had been cheating on me. How is this my shortcoming? I had lost my job and was having to drive four hours away to work in North Carolina, therefore leaving her lonely all week. She couldn’t help but stray. This was my logic.

After a year of anguish, I met my second wife. She brightened my day. She made me laugh. She told me that the world was going to get better. And I believed her. Three weeks later, a child was born. I had always wanted children, so this was a good thing. However, six months later, I walked out. I was tired of many things. After a month, we moved back in together. And this is how it was until this past November. Twenty-three years, seven months and twenty days. Almost a life sentence in some states.

And it was life. We had our good days and our bad. Many everyday issues such as bills, children and issues from both of our families. We had three more boys and got married in November of 1996. But the dark currents were just below the surface. I had become disenchanted with my life. Before our marriage, I had cheated on her four times. Three more afterwards. I was not happy. My unhappiness turned to melancholy. I would procrastinate about everything that she wanted done. In my mind, it seemed that she was never happy with anything. And I still believe this.

When I left home, I left many projects unfinished. I didn’t finish the second bathroom. I didn’t finish the trim in the living room, or the ceilings in the kitchen and dining room. One wall on the outside of the house is not painted orange like the rest. I didn’t get the dormer installed on the stairs, or the walls finished upstairs. I was hoping all my children would be gone by the time I lost it. But alas, the oldest one is still there. Stuck somewhere in limbo between a child and an adult.

After many years of having people coming in and out of our lives, and living with us at times, I finally had a deep depression in 2012. This lasted about six months. As I was coming out of it, I had what has been classified as a heart event in April 2013. Depending on which doctor you talk to, they classify as anything from angina to a series a minor heart attacks; however, they all agree it is caused from stress. While I was in the hospital, the heart doctor told me to do whatever it would take to relieve my stress. This is when I seriously began to consider my options. When I got to the hospital, I really didn’t care if I died. Then I realized that I had too much to live for. My children. My grandchildren. And most of all, for myself. I wanted to be happy.

And I tried. But after a few months, life went back to normal. Except that I was never alone. Someone always had to be with me just in case. I felt smothered. All the old emotions returned. I may as well die. But then our old friend returned from Louisiana. She would bring her children over. They would have sleep overs with us. We would sit up talking about writers, music, our children, pretty much anything until the early morning. This is when my wife became alarmed. She was too close to me. I could talk to her, but not my own wife. I was giving too much attention to her and her children. Excuses began to crop up why they couldn’t visit. I was feeling smothered again. In the last month before I left, our routine was for me to go to work, come home and eat and then play on the computers until bedtime. That was a Hell of a life. And it was the beginning of the end.

Now, I am happy. I am content. I am learning who I am. I am seeing a counselor who is enlightening me on many things that I have had wrong in my life. I am eating right. My overall health is improving. Both physically and mentally. I am living with someone who truly cares for me and wants me to tell her the unadulterated truth even when it hurts her. And she has no expectations of me. I am supposed to find my happiness. That’s it.

And as for the troll, I’m sure that you want to hear me say that I am an adulterer. A lazy, good for nothing individual who has not paid anything for his wife in three months. I am a procrastinator. I am a sinner. I have let my wife and children down. I have let my parents down. I have let my friends down. If that’s what you want, there it is.

However, contrary to your belief, I paid four months rent on the house. One month on the car insurance. One month on the water bill. And if she hadn’t gone behind my back, I would have paid the power bill. That doesn’t include money that I gave her for cigarettes and kerosene. Gas to get our son to and from college. Doesn’t include tires or coming to work on the car.

In conclusion, I am guilty of three things. 1) Wanting to be happy. 2) Not knowing how to love (according to my counselor). 3) Not having the frame of mind to put her in line years ago or kick her out. There you have it. My conclusion to what you wanted. Please feel free to comment on my blog. You don’t have to message me on Facebook. Have a good week.

grant1

Posted by: grantahelms | February 22, 2014

Forks

forkinroadThe Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Over the course of my 47 years, I have  probably read this poem a dozen times. Every time it means something new to me. And with age comes in-sight. Recently, a nine-year old made me look at writing in a new light. She commented that when she is 16 she wants to dissect a frog. I found that to be interesting. Most girls that I went to school with would get squeamish  at that thought.But it made me start to think that if we dissect everything we do, we may actually learn from it. So I decided to dissect Robert Frost. Figuratively speaking of course.

” What was Frost feeling when he wrote this poem?”

” What is Frost talking about when he uses the metaphor of the road?”

” How does this pertain to us 100 years later?”

It is my belief that the road is a metaphor for life. The fork in the road is the point in our lives where we have to make decisions that will influence the direction our lives will go. As we come to these times in our lives, some decisions are easy and others are not. Therefore, he says he is sorry he cannot travel both. One is long and straight and at first glance it is easy to tell that many have traveled this way. In modern terms, it may be the American dream. Graduation, college, wife, children, house, white picket fence, etc. You all know the drill. The other path may have a shorter view before you get to a curve.This tends to inhibit people’s choice of this direction because in the grand scheme of things, most people want to be able to see their entire life at a glance. Most people don’t like surprises. Most people don’t enjoy the unknown. Thank goodness Christopher Columbus wasn’t one of them.

220px-Landing_of_Columbus_(2)

In the last stanza Frost acknowledges that sometime in the future he would look back on the choice he made, and be happy with it. For the choice of taking the path less traveled would make all the difference in who he had become. He was not a doctor, not a lawyer, not a store clerk but an artist. Someone who could color outside the lines and make it beautiful. Someone who could see life in real color, not black and white.

If he hadn’t taken the road less traveled, would it have made a difference in your life? I guess before I ask that, I should ask if you even know of Robert Frost? Have you read his poetry before, or is this your first introduction to him? Ok, so for those of you don’t of him, here is a short profile.

220px-Robert_Frost_NYWTS

Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874-January 29, 1963) was an American poet. His work was initially published in England before it was published in America. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. One of the most popular and critically respected American poets of the twentieth century. Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He became one of America’s rare “public literary figures, almost an artistic institution.” He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960 for his poetical works. (via Wikipedia)

So, this is a general break down of the man. But in order to interpret him, you must read his works. However, you may be wrong. He has become classed as one of the most misunderstood poets in American literary history. He was deemed an outcast in his day by critics of Modernistic poetry who classified his work as “too traditional.” Over the years though, many have recanted those accusations saying the his work was “deep and cryptic” with depictions of ordinary life. Take some time, curl up in a chair and see what you think of Robert Frost. I hope you enjoy his work as much as I do.

Now let’s get back to the topic at hand. What does Frost’s writing have to do with our lives? I think he is telling us to be ourselves. Following in the paths of others may be a safe way to travel, but sometimes you lose the beauty of the journey. I mean if you enjoy cruising by shopping centers, malls, big cities with all their attractions, more power to you, but there are times in your life when you could enjoy the country store that is seven miles from my house. When you walk in, it’s like any other convenience store. Chips, soda, bread, motor oil. The usual. But as you wander through the back sections of the store, on one side you find the hardware and the other is a tack room. And they have a grill where you can order hamburgers and fries. All this in one centralized location. When you are done, you get back to life. Without wasting the entire day. More time to smell the roses.

In conclusion, be happy with the path that you chose. Sometimes you can go back, sometimes you can’t. No matter what you do, live life with no regrets and enjoy the journey. Have a great weekend.

“How do you decide which road you will follow when you come to a fork?”

“When a decision doesn’t work out like you hoped, do you go back or do you continue on to see where it takes you?”

“What other American poets do you find noteworthy, and why?”

 

Posted by: grantahelms | February 21, 2014

Needs, Wants and Desires

Have you ever wondered about these three words? What is the difference? What are the implications? According to Webster’s the definitions are as follows:

Need: a)A situation in which someone or something must do or have something

b)Something that is needed in order to live or succeed or be happy

c)A strong feeling that you must have or do something

Want: To desire or wish for something or someone.

Desire: a)To want or wish for something

b)To want to have sex with someone or something

c)To express a wish for something

They all seem to be intertwined. At least according to the definitions. But what if your girlfriend told you that she doesn’t need you? What would that do to you emotionally? I recently faced this dilemma and I was devastated. How could she not need me? Wasn’t I good enough for her? Then, being the wonderful person that she is, she continued on with the explanation. While she did not need me, she wanted and desired to be with me. Now I felt better, but was still somewhat confused. So I did what all good primates would do…Research.

Angry animal ... a monkey in India.research2

 

“Needs are things which we require to live.”

I had never thought of it like this before. Needs are things that we absolutely have to have to survive. In one point of my research I found these statistics. Though this list is not exclusive, they are a basis to live by.

You can survive:

3 minutes without oxygen                                                       (death by asphyxiation)

3 hours without shelter from the extreme elements   (death by hypothermia or heat stroke)

3 days without water                                                                 (death by dehydration)

3 weeks without food                                                                (death by starvation)

Wow! No wonder she said she didn’t need me. Before I came along she was providing these things for herself and her two children all by herself. And to be honest, she was doing it better than I ever had. No matter how much I made, $16.00 per hour at one point, I struggled from check to check. I never had anything left over, and I definitely couldn’t put any away for a rainy day. That was a real wake up call for me. She was making 50-75% less than me yearly, and could still take the children on vacations and buy new shoes every month. I want that kind of lifestyle.

“Wants are something that we have a desire for.”

I wanted that lifestyle. To work smart and not hard. To spend smart and not let someone else squander what you have worked hard for. So how do we get what we want? Do you work overtime? Do you just make a complete 360 degree change from what you were doing? This is what I have chosen to do. After a heart event in April of 2013, and months of contemplation and trying to talk to my wife, I left home. It was not sudden. It was not crazy. It was not irresponsible. It was survival! I wanted to live. I wanted to be happy. But most of all I wanted to be free to be me. And now I found someone who said she wanted me also. She didn’t say she wanted what I could do for her. She didn’t say she wanted what I could give her. She said she wanted me. The real me. The one who was repressed. The one who was depressed. And this wasn’t news to her. She had been my friend for years. She knew my inabilities and limitations, and she still wanted me. She wanted me to find happiness. With or without her. What a concept. And I couldn’t grasp it. So, I did some more of this:Thinking

“Desires are things that we want or wish for.”

What did I desire? What would it take to make me truly happy? To be rich? No. To have a good marriage? No. To find a better job? Maybe. Maybe I could use a new car or a boat. Could these make me happy? Many other men have gotten these things when experiencing a mid-life crisis. But then again, this wasn’t a mid-life crisis. This was survival. And it finally dawned on me that all these things were merely patches to a problem that hadn’t been repaired. To repair the damage that was done, I needed to dig deep. This is the list that I came up with:

a) I desire to find who I truly am. Not who I have been taught to be. Not who others think I should be. Not who, or what, I have been molded into by those in my life since birth.

b) I desire to be happy with myself. Not to be happy because of anyone else. Or what they have done, or will do for me. Only when I become happy with myself can I learn to love myself.

c) I desire to love myself. Only when I love myself, in a true non-vain kind of way, can I truly love anyone else.

d) I desire to have someone in my life who will be real with me. If I have misinterpreted something, guide me. Spend time talking to me, not at me. Spend time holding me when words are useless. If you have an issue that you need help with, talk to me. Don’t expect me to fix it.

All these things seem so simple, but they are not. Not for most at least. Why are we so repressed that we can’t truly open ourselves up to others? Are we afraid of pain? Hurt? Rejection? Don’t ask me. If I had all the answers I wouldn’t be trying to find myself now. So I guess until I have more answers I will continue to be like my furry friends.

thinking2

“Do you know how to truly love yourself? If so, guide the rest of us.”

“Have you ever taken the time to contemplate your desires? Or have you just rolled with the punches?”

“What would you do if a significant other said they didn’t need you? Would you blow a gasket or try to understand what they meant?”

Posted by: grantahelms | February 12, 2014

Be Prepared

Since joining the Boy Scouts, Kevin had been proud of himself. Always be prepared. This was the scouting motto. So for this trip he made sure he had clothes, food, fishing supplies, First Aid kit, blankets and toiletries. So how was it possible that he had forgotten his tent?

Welcome back to my post for Flash in the Pan. The flash word is tent and the maximum word count is 50. I finished at 49. To see what others are writing, or to view the flash rules, visit Red at the M3 blog. These short stories, called flashes, are due to be released in a book called “Boys and their toys.” It is scheduled for production May 1,2014. Thanks for viewing and good luck in your writing.

Posted by: grantahelms | January 31, 2014

Free Bird

It had been a crazy night. But it was all over now. Johnny had lost his job. When he arrived home, he found that his wife had left him. The silence was deafening. Maybe a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway in his car would do him some good. It was relaxing. Time to think. As he drove into the darkness, wind in his hair, Free Bird came on the radio. When he reached to turn the volume up, he went through the guard rail. Now he spread his arms like a Free Bird waiting on the fiery impact below.

I guess it’s not meant to be. I thought I could get through one book without killing someone. Oh well. Maybe it will drive the sales up. This is my latest installment for Flash in the Pan which is gratefully sponsored by the M3 blog. The flash word is car and the maximum word count is 100. As hard as it sometimes is, I managed 100 words once again. To see what others are writing, or to view the Flash rules, click the link above. Then have fun unleashing all the beautiful, crazy, or demented thoughts floating in your head. Happy writing. Grant

” What song has had a huge impact (maybe not like Johnny’s) in your life?”

” Where is your favorite place to get away and think?”

” What would you do in Johnny’s situation? Would you panic or let go?”

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: grantahelms | January 27, 2014

Hidden blessings

Johan was mad! Why did he have to take care of the dog? Of course he had asked for it, but Bobby’s dad took care of their dog. It was Bobby’s, but if he didn’t do it his Dad would take care of it. Not Johan’s dad though. He made Johan walk the dog in the morning, feed and water him twice a day, and then walk it again in the evening. It wasn’t fair! As he watched it squat once again, something bright caught his eye.In an old pile of poop was his favorite marble that had been missing.

This is my third installment for this series of Flash in the Pan, sponsored by the M3 blog. To see what others have written, or to see the flash rules, click the link and find an outlet for your mind. The flash word was marble and the maximum word count was 100. I came in at exactly 100.

“Have you ever wanted something so bad but found it to be monotonous when you got it?”

“Have you ever had to care for something that others wanted?”

“Have you ever found something you had lost in the most unusual place?”

Join us next time when I decide how to use the word car. Till then, God bless you all.

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