How To Deal With Sadness And Heal Your Pain.

Sadness. We know the feeling…like gnawing in the back of your mind or being immersed in a cloud of pain right down to your soul. Sometimes it can be so painful, you feel you can’t survive, and your first instinct is to run away. But the more you run, the stronger it gets. So you resist, but resistance holds it to you. And it can become relentless, almost like a will of its own.

Usually, sadness involves some kind of obvious loss…a loved one, a job, a home, money, personal freedom, anything you value. And the severity of your loss contributes to the degree of your pain. In some situations, you’re able to recoup and carry on. In others, life may take a sharp turn, and what used to feel real and dependable in your life seems to disappear, leaving little to comfort and sustain you.

“Hypophrenia: A feeling of sadness seemingly without a cause.” ~ Unknown

Some sadness we carry may reflect unresolved issues from childhood. And sadness may be something you’ve carried inside for your whole life. You function and get by, and try to avoid feeling it. But sadness lurks somewhere deep inside, and you always know it’s there. You live with it, like part of you without knowing where it’s coming from.

I’d like to share one of my own experiences. My father died when I was six years old, and I never recovered from losing him. It broke my heart, and I suffered deep sadness for many years. Then several years ago, with the help of an Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) treatment, I was able to finally let him go peacefully. I dealt with my loss, and now the sadness is gone too. I will always miss him, but it’s okay for me to miss him. I would not change that.

A loss is a real issue we need to deal with. Everything is energy, and just as physical pain is an energy telling us something in our physical body needs attention, sadness is the energy that tells us we need to deal with a loss in our life. So the goal is to release the sadness and ultimately release the pain of the loss itself.

“It’s important to understand that sadness is a necessary part of healing. It’s a bridge we must cross to resolve the issue and heal the pain. And we need to deal with it.”

1. Clarify what’s causing your pain and sadness, but don’t be concerned if you can’t find a cause. Just refer to it as the loss you’re dealing with.

2. Identify your feelings, and give yourself permission to feel without judgment.

3. It’s okay to control your feelings when you have to, but allow some private time each day, 30 minutes to 1 hour, to express your pain and sadness freely. Verbalize, release your pent-up tears, punch a pillow, run, whatever expressions help you. Then at the end of the assigned time, stop and immediately go to a pleasant activity you plan ahead of time. Your pain and sadness may, or may not, totally disappear. But as you repeat this exercise during each day, those feelings will gradually decrease and give you peace.

4. Find someone in your life or a class you can attend that will listen and help you through this difficult time. Someone is there for you.

When we’re suffering it’s difficult to imagine pain and sadness someone else is experiencing. It seems like ours is all there is. But we meet people every day hiding their feelings behind fake smiles, afraid to reach out for understanding and comfort they long for. It could be a clerk in a store, a stranger on the street, a neighbor, even a friend. Identifying another’s sadness, and doing what you can to help them through it, can help bring you through yours. And if you’ve already come through yours, you can feel the joy in your heart from helping another. You will both be blessed. 

I wish you a heart filled with peace and comfort…

 

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  

“Silent Echoes” on Amazon.

 

 

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Is Your Goal Setting Journey Successful…And If Not, Why?

It’s hard for our minds to stay in the present, and we tend to want a better future. So we set goals. We’re taught this principle with slogans like, “Going for the goal; success is measured by reaching goals; without goals, attempts at success are futile; etc.” Although there are many skeptics about setting goals, we’re a goal setting nation from individuals to large organizations.

According to the World Book Encyclopedia, a “goal is a thing for which an effort is made” or a “thing wanted.” Things you want generally fall into 3 categorieshaving, doing, or being something. Examples: I want to have a patio behind my house, or I want to learn French, or I want to be 10 pounds lighter. Each one suggests a goal. But we’re all different and reaching the goal may or may not involve a specific plan to get there. Some people need prodding, and others don’t. Some of us would not get out of bed each morning without goals for the day, and some of us cringe at having to function with pre-set goals.

“No one knows how far his strengths go until he has tried them.”  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Goals may be small achievements or life changing, but they all offer an opportunity to learn and grow. And goal setting probably produces rewards more often than not. But it can also go the other way. When successful, it provides a sense of motivation and purpose, with focus, passion, direction, improved self-esteem, and something to look forward to. But for some people, setting goals can be limiting, and may do more harm than good. It can create a sense of ‘I should’, self-doubt, pressure to succeed and fear of failure, too much living in the future and neglecting the present, and feeling unworthy and depressed if they do fail to reach their goals.

“Determine What you want and Why you want it. Once you understand what’s important, you can utilize your Passions and achieve anything.”  ~Brooke Griffin

One size doesn’t fit all, so it’s wise to choose an approach in which you feel comfortable; detailed planning, tentative planning, available doors as you move along, or any method that feels right for you. Whatever your method, get a clear vision of what you want to achieve, why you want it, and how much you’re willing to go through to get it. Then begin creating your process to get there.

I set goals for myself, but I’m not one to map out a way to get there. In my forties, I wanted to work in the Mental Health Field, but had no money for necessary education. I had no idea how I could accomplish such a goal, but I had to do it. So I quit my job, moved to another city, stayed with friends, got another job, and enrolled in school on a loan and later a stipend. While in school, I reached out to some wonderful people for help, I volunteered at seminars for free admission and volunteered at a Mental Health Center to gain experience. And eventually, I had the degrees and training I needed for many happy years doing work I loved. Nothing planned…just opened one door at a time, and reached my initial goal.

“Be stubborn about your goals, and flexible about your methods.”   ~Unknown

If you have a goal and choose to plan ahead, go easy on yourself, and keep your demands reasonable. And to minimize stress, set realistic, flexible standards within your capabilities. Include whatever you will need in each step toward your goal, and list resources for help along the way. Allow for any unforeseen situations that may occur, and be ready to alter your course if needed. Keeping your eye on the goal will keep you motivated. And monitoring the process as you move through it will furnish valuable insight if in the end, you need a second attempt. Don’t give up!

“We can’t become what we need to be by remaining where we are.”  ~Oprah

Do you want to make a change in your life, but scared to take a step forward? Well, choose your goal, and ask someone you trust to stand by you through the change process so you don’t feel alone in a threatening world. Be understanding and patient with yourself. And if you fall back, don’t criticize. You’re stronger than you think, and you can make it. And it could make a difference in your life. Move forward into freedom.

I wish you much sunshine on your journey…

Marilyn Fowler,  Author/Writer of  SILENT ECHOES  ~  Visit Me On Amazon

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Are You Running Your Life or Is Your Life Running You?

Ours is an excessively conscious age. We know so much, we feel so little.”  ~ D. H. Lawrence

We’re living in a time when we’re bombarded with so much information, it’s hard for our brains to digest all of it. So we run through each day trying to sort out what we need in order to function with little time to see where we’re going. In a way, it’s a good thing much of our functioning is based on habits that keep us in line. But on the other hand, it doesn’t give us much room to see beyond those habits. And our wonderful gift of creativity gets lost in the process.

“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”  ~ Charles C. Noble

The habits we use in adulthood are learned during our childhood years. We take every piece of knowledge from our environment, sift through it, accept and reject, and come up with what makes sense to us or what is expected of us, or both. And the habits we form become our pattern for living. In years past, our innate gift of creativity was nurtured and encouraged. But over the years, in many schools, little time was allowed for creativity. And we’ve learned to survive in a material world where gadgets are the answer to daily functioning…push a button for this and a button for that.

“If you are not consciously directing your life, you will lose your footing and circumstances will decide for you.”  ~ Michael Beckwith

Unless we’ve chosen to live creatively with freedom to direct our own path, we can be swept along by the dictates of current expected behavior. And we wake up every morning to follow our mental ‘to do’ list for that day without question. When unforeseen situations come up, we move into whatever direction they take us and do our best to resolve them with robotic precision. Days end, and we’ve once more fulfilled our mission to solve problems as they arise and maintain our status quo. We’re the sickest industrial nation in the world, and our drug industry is a booming business. We’re supposed to be running our lives, but it appears our lives are running us. And it gets overwhelming.

When you look at your situation, what do you see? Probably work, paying bills, maintaining a home, maybe raising a family, tending to health issues. helping someone close to you. You know…all those having and doing things. Your daily responsibilities are so very important, and maybe you’re reasonably content. But you don’t have to let them dictate the quality of your life.

Walt Whitman said, “I am larger than I thought and more wonderful.” And we are. But sometimes we get so caught up in having and doing things, we forget about being. And life cannot be measured in things. Things are finite…here today and gone tomorrow. It’s intangible qualities that make life worthwhile and memorable…those qualities that express our larger, more wonderful self.

When was the last time you watched a quiet sunset, listened to birds welcome a new day, tasted an apple pie just out of the oven, enjoyed a long conversation with a friend, said a prayer, or experienced a good old-fashioned bear hug with a child and felt the loving energy between you? Have you forgotten? Those blessings don’t happen unless you take the reins and direct your life to include them as a vital part of your busy world. Balance is key in all things, and we can reach a balance between feeding our material needs and feeding our souls…even in today’s gadget world.

“Live your dreams. Create your life. Lead with intention.” ~ Leslie Schwartz

If you feel your life is being run by responsibilities, and you want a more fulfilling life, go within and explore where you are now and where you want to go. Whether you share responsibility with someone or you shoulder it alone, by leading with intention you can create the kind of life your heart wants. Your life is a journey, and you have the power to direct your steps along the way…your way. Be happy, dear one. You are larger and more wonderful than you think.

I wish you a full and happy life.

__________________________________________

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer 


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Approaching The Unknown. Friend-Foe-or Challenge?

HELLO and WELCOME Friends and Readers,

There are things known and things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”  ~ Aldous Huxley

The unknown…the dark, scary, unknown…that place you don’t want to go…but it’s there…always there…looming in the realm of unanswered questions where anything can happen…and you don’t know what you’re facing. Stress builds, and you’ve gotten yourself into a frightening horror film when a can of soda and a box of popcorn in the latest Mickey Mouse film is really all you’re going to need to survive. have you ever experienced such a trip? This example may be exaggerated, but don’t we sometimes needlessly chew over something trying to resolve an issue in our mind to avoid the unknown?

But we can’t escape. Life is full of unknowns, and not always anticipated. The very next moment from your present moment is an unknown. And events can happen without any warning at all. So relish every precious moment you have. Last year, with no thought of any next moment, I was hospitalized twice for a sudden accident. Now after 14 months, pain is subsiding, and I’m more at ease. But still dealing with nerve damage. And I had no idea anything was coming in that very moment.

Everyone is afraid of something, but usually, we’re not faced with situations attached to dire circumstances. We don’t have all the answers, but outcomes are fairly predictable. And we can calm our fears with some positive reassurance. “It’s okay if I’m a little nervous on a new job; I can find new friends when I move; etc.” We survive these unknowns and move on.

But when we’re faced with a critical situation that could lead to painful repercussions, it becomes a gigantic question we’ll have to answer at some ominous time in the future. We don’t know what path it will take, and we get caught up in ‘what ifs’ over one imagined scenario after another. “How can I cope if my marriage ends in divorce? Where can I go if I end up losing my house? What if I can’t work after surgery? etc.” The outcome rests in the unknown, and stress builds as time passes. What a waste of our mental and emotional resources.

“The fears we don’t face become our LIMITS.”  ~ Robin Sharma

Sometimes our challenges are within our own minds where we can have control. But fear might hold us back from things we want to change in our life, and we refuse to act. At age 47, filled with fear, I left my waitress job and went back to school. It changed my life. Had I not stepped out of where I was, I would not be writing to you now. What would your life be like if you stepped out of what you don’t want and into what you do want? Fear might say, “What if you make a mistake or maybe you’ll fail and look stupid.” But fear is a reason, not an excuse. And in situations like this, you have some power over the unknown.


“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”  ~Michael Althsuler

Sometimes things happen for which you’re in no way responsible. “Unexpected turn of events, painful loss, a plan falls through, broken promises, someone turns against you, etc.” But that’s life, and you have to deal with it. And while you may not be able to alter an outcome, you can alter your response to it with courage over fear.

It may seem easier to look the other way, but when you stumble, you fall hard. So start by taking a look at your life every day. And if you’re facing a disturbing unknown, prepare yourself now to experience the best response possible given the circumstances. The better you understand what you’re dealing with, the wiser will be your response. Clarify with questions like, “Do I have time to plan; what are my alternatives; is there a way out if I need one; will I be able to function effectively; etc?” Your courage will build as you go along.

“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.”  ~John Maxwell

No unknown situation is comfortable. So use your discomfort to move you forward, and grow with each unknown. You’re here for a reason. Step out and find your answers on the other side of fear, knowing that whatever the unknown holds, you have what it takes to find your way.


Blessings in all your Unknowns….

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer of  “Silent Echoes”  and  “Me and Granmama in the Hill Country

About The Author:

I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. My professional experience includes Mental Health Team Leader, then Director of Mental Health Services in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida; coordinating Mental Health Services in nursing homes, working on inpatient units, and in private practice for a number of years. I teach a class at the University of North Florida on The Influence of Childhood Messages on Adult Life. I enjoy reading, writing, and blogging to help others in their life journey …..

Dealing With Your Insecurities To Be More Of Who You Really Are.

Hello Friends, Readers, and New Visitors,

Just want to say I hope you are enjoying your long Thanksgiving Weekend with many blessings, good food, and with family and friends. Here is a little something I wrote and packed full of much wisdom! Happy Thanksgiving Weekend XO .  .  .


Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” ~Marilyn Monroe

Everyone is insecure to some degree, although most insecurities don’t cause extreme discomfort. Our insecurities can involve fears that we won’t measure up in certain areas of our life, fears that we don’t belong, we lack certain abilities, status, or education, and it seems like everything we do is a mess. So we cover up our personal insecurity the best we can and end up living a fairly normal life…at least what’s termed ‘normal’ by all those folks who don’t appear insecure.

But there are those who suffer through life with a damaged sense of self, feeling incapable, unimportant, and unacceptable. Their fears branch out to all areas of their life and impair their ability to function in rewarding ways. They can become isolated, avoiding social contacts, taking jobs that don’t require interaction with others, and missing out on their full life potential. Insecurity can also manifest as arrogance, jealousy, bigotry, etc. And as a means of escape, some may even turn to alcohol or drugs.

So what causes someone to feel insecure and fearful in particular situations? We’re all born with certain traits, and some children are more vulnerable than others. Insecurity is unique to each person, so we manifest our insecurity in different ways and degrees. And we develop an inner voice at an early age that conveys positive and negative messages to us throughout life.

If our inner child hears things like, “You’re a loser, ugly, can’t do anything right, why are you so stupid, etc, we believe what we hear and form critical messages that produce insecurity. Other contributing factors are rejection, a need to be perfect, forms of abandonment, bullying, etc. Then when we goof up as adults, that critical inner voice says, “See? I told you so.”

“Tell that negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up.”  ~Ann Bradford

We try to deal with our fears and get on with life. But situations we run into trigger our insecurity. We can feel fine until we encounter such things as loss of a job, lack of money, personal mistakes, speaking in front of others, social situations, even being late for appointments…anything that arouses our critical voice. “It’s your fault; you should have known better; they’ll think you’re stupid; you’re just not competent, etc.” Then those scared feelings take over, and we believe those things about our self.

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You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Whenever my church Minister went out of town, I used to present the lesson (sermon), and I pushed through with heart pounding and knees shaking. Then I devised a new approach. I began by telling the whole congregation I was very nervous but would do the best I could. Wow. I cleared the air, and they were understanding. Now I didn’t have to stumble over words, lose my thoughts, pause and regroup, and appear incompetent. Now I relaxed and enjoyed the experience.

I may feel insecure about one thing, while you might feel insecure about something else. We’re all different. And once you understand your own feelings and reasons behind them, you can work on confronting the issues. If you feel a sense of insecurity that holds you back, the first step toward healing is to figure out the root of those feelings. You can do that with questions and searching for insight. Why do I feel insecure when___? What do I feel insecure about? I feel insecure because___. Ask questions you feel would help you, and ponder over any answers you get.

“Don’t let your insecurities ruin the beauty you were born with.” Unknown   

Whether or not you get the answers you need, practice doing what you’re afraid to do, and use denials and affirmations. I deny that childhood experience has any power over me. Because in truth, I affirm I was born whole and wonderful (any words you want), and that’s who and what I am. Take a deep breath and say, “That was a long time ago. Things are different now.” And make them different. You may or may not totally heal your insecure feelings, but you can reduce their hold over you. And you can be more of who you really are.

I wish you freedom to be your wonderful self.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer

(My Books Are on Amazon – Just Click Them)

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How The Image You Portray To Others Influences The Quality Of Your Life Part 1 .

We all develop a sense of self from messages received during childhood. some messages teach the child to trust who they really are and live their life free from fear of being hurt. But with others, the authentic child gets lost in negative messages about who they are and what the world is like. And they will create ways to protect themselves from being hurt.

We humans are resourceful. And the crutches we use to protect ourselves come in many forms. We put up walls. We live in denial. We guard our feelings. We buy love. We avoid threatening situations. And so on, and so on. We create a protective mask, and this image is what we present to the world.

“You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it.”
~Alan Moore

We all wear a mask from time to time, but our facade can become so real, we may forget who we were before someone or something forced us to create a protective shield. And others will react to us according to the person we appear to be, not knowing that beneath our mask we may feel inadequate, unloved, rejected, lonely … any pain from our childhood.

Behind every mask there’s an unmet need, something we missed as a child. And we never found the courage to explore life as our true self. We hide behind our mask to feel safe, and that can work for us. We project silent messages, and others respond. But sometimes the mask can backfire and leave us defenseless, as in the following examples.

People Pleaser message:
If I always give and do what you want, that will please you, and then you’ll love me. So I’ll put your desires ahead of my own. Other people’s response: So that means I can run to you any time I want something done, you’ll do it for me. My own gofer. Yeah.
Result: A people pleaser can get used, and not always be loved.

Do Gooder message:
I’ll serve my community and always help others. Then I’ll get everyone’s approval for being such a good person. Other people’s response: That person is so dedicated to helping others, but he/she doesn’t know when to stop. Result: Do Gooder’s efforts are appreciated, but no approval as a person.

Center of Attention message:
I have no pain from childhood. I’m okay just like I am. So I can do whatever I want, and everyone will like and accept me. Other people’s response: He/she is all right for a while, but not the center of attention all the time. It’s too much. Result: Center of Attention’s denial of any pain underneath isn’t working, and there’s no acceptance by others.

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“We try so hard to make ourselves lovable, and yet each layer of this mask puts another wall around us–a wall that keeps love out.”  ~Vironika Tugaleva

When I was 6 years old, my father died, and I was heart-broken. But no one understood or comforted me. So I vowed to take care of myself and need no one. Without realizing it, I put up a wall and projected an Independent, Self-Sufficient image to everyone in my life. And of course this brought a Response that said: Oh, you take care of yourself, and you don’t need help. You always look good and seem so happy. You don’t need us. The Result of this image brought loneliness behind my wall.

“Because an illusion is an illusion, reality always exists despite the facade”
~ Kasie West.


 Do you wear a mask to protect yourself from childhood hurts? If so, living with a false image may get you through life, but that allows your authentic self to remain lost inside, yelling “Let me out. See me. Hear me. Love me.” And somewhere inside you know it. You feel it. You may not realize you’re living a protective façade but your life is worth exploring to find out where you’re really coming from and whether or not you’re happy with that.

Tune in next week for Part 2 with ways to be less of who you are not, and be more of who you really are.

Let your light shine.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes”  . . . .

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About Silent Echoes:

Silent Echoes is a memoir with psychological undertones spanning three generations. It begins with life in an orphanage and moves into the rich, sweet life of the 1920’s, through the tumultuous Stock Market crash and Great Depression years. The story recounts this historical period, and brings the national trauma to life through a vivid portrayal of one family’s personal struggle to go on as they fall from wealth to poverty and homelessness.

It guides readers through this entire decade with a bone deep exploration into the family’s inner pain and desperation as their situation tests their strength to survive. Characters are portrayed with poignant care as they experience not only loss of material possessions, but of trust in a secure future, of loved ones through death and separation, losses that wound the very soul. As their story moves out of the Depression years through several wars and beyond, residual scars become apparent as they influence the character’s self-defeating choices for some years to come.

Acceptance – Courage – Wisdom. Do These Words Have Meaning In Your Life?

Welcome To My Self-Help Blog Friends,


Thoughts behind the Serenity Prayer have been around for centuries but, according to Wikipedia, the actual prayer as we know it was authored by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) for sermons at Heath Evangelical Union Church in Heath, Massachusetts, and was first published in 1951 in a magazine column. The prayer spread through Niebuhr’s sermons and church groups in the 1930s and 1940s, and was later adopted by Alcoholics anonymous and other twelve-step programs.

The prayer has appeared in many versions, and the best-known form with 3 lines is today found in many homes, including mine. Its meaning is profound when examined with the mind and heart. But its words are simple, and it’s so familiar, we take it for granted. I doubt that many could explain its meaning in depth unless they knew it first hand as a source of hope and guidance in addiction recovery work. And unless someone is involved in this type of life-changing experience, the value of this meaningful prayer oftentimes is not being used.

How many times
have you read the words in the Serenity Prayer and not related them to your own life? Are they just words, or could they have an important influence on the quality of your life? What does acceptance mean, and how is that done? What is courage, and where do we find it? What is wisdom, and how do we get it?

“The real peace of mind is accepting reality as it is.” ~ Swami Premodaye

 Acceptance: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The first line of the prayer implies that serenity is needed to accept what you can’t change. Acceptance doesn’t mean it’s okay if you lose your job, you experience illness, you lose a loved one, your car breaks down, a storm blows the roof off your house, whatever the situation. That is the pain of human life, and it’s not okay that it happened or is happening. But you must accept that it exists, and you can’t change it. It doesn’t mean you won’t suffer, but rather than stew, fret, stress over it … Let it be. Be willing to assume a more calm, peaceful mind and heart to accept the reality of it and respond with the strength you need to survive, and not let it destroy you.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~Andre Gide

Courage: Courage to change the things I can.
You were born with all the courage you need. Your courage just gets lost sometimes behind a fear of the unknown or in the false belief that you lack the ability to create change. But as you focus less on what you can’t change and increase focus on what you can, your confidencecourage … will increase. So when there’s something that you can and want to change, then assume a calm, serene mind and heart attitude toward whatever’s holding you back, and respond with your courage in spite of it. John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death … but saddling up anyway.”

Sometimes the status quo may feel safer, but how would it feel to spend the rest of your life watching ships pass you by and leave you standing on the shore in your own prison of fear? Think on that and heed the prayer for courage to change the things you can. Because you can.

Wisdom: And wisdom to know the difference.

Your life belongs to you. You have the power to accept what you cannot change and the power to change what you can. And wisdom is the ability to know and
understand what you’re dealing with and to act accordingly.

It’s been said that experience is the best teacher, and I think that’s pretty true. So pay attention, and don’t take your good times lightly or curse your suffering. Great lessons are learned from some of our best and worst times. And this teaches us to know the difference between what we cannot change and what we can. Read the Serenity Prayer thoughtfully in relation to your own life. Read it everyday. There’s much wisdom here with opportunity to expand your life in wondrous ways.

Much of what I’ve written in this article is from my own observations with the Serenity Prayer. I hope you find some of them useful, and that your life is enriched with some of your own.

I wish you happiness as you create what you want in your life.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer of
“Silent Echoes  & Me and Granmama In The Hill Country”

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