Saturday, May 28, 2011

an open letter to anonymous, or why I am ok with showing my fat face

Never be bullied into silence.  Never allow yourself to be made a victim.  Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself.  ~Harvey Fierstein




Tonight I got my very first ever mean comment on this here ole blog.
I think maybe that means I am getting good at this blog thing.
I mean all the great bloggers get all sorts of hate/rude comments all the time right? I mean look at Heather B.!
It has taken 5 years, but here it is. And boy is it a good one, and I wanted to share this with everyone because I think maybe this is a good subject to talk about openly. So here we go:





Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "14 years of different kinds of happy": 

This is going to come off as totally, awfully rude, but are you guys not disturbed by how much weight you've gained over the years? Seriously. Just scroll down "over the years" and it looks like you are being inflated. 



Posted by Anonymous to the adventures of jolly goode gal at 9:05 PM


Dear Anonymous, 
First let me thank you for reading my blog. I am glad you have  popped in for a visit. I do have start off by saying that I think it was mighty cowardly of you to not sign your real name. If I have the courage to show pictures of myself "inflated"  then perhaps you should have the courage to sign your name. I'm just saying. But let's get to the point shall we?  Our weight, or more specifically my weight (I am not going to speak for Sweet Man. My story is not his and vice versa. How he feels about his body is up to him, not me, so I will not address it further.)  When I was little, say perhaps 4 years old, I was already aware that I was not small or petite or skinny like other little girls. I knew that my tummy stuck out too far and that my thighs were too wide and that this set me apart from others. How I know these things I have no idea, but maybe when you are from the South it is just part of your DNA. So from the age of 4 I was aware. Very aware of my inflated size, to the point that when I was 10 I joined Weight Watchers for the first time. 10 years old. Got that? A little girl and I was already obsessing about my weight.  And so the battle began. The battle against what I saw in the mirror and what I saw in the magazines. The battle against what size I wore and what size my friends wore. The battle to be thin enough. 
And so I fought the fight: I lost weight and I gained weight. Up and down, up and down. Never really successful in my own mirror. I was never a waif or a rail. My thighs have always touched. My middle has always pouched. My chin, always on the verge of more than one.
 Fast forward to college. I dated some boys, I fell in love with a couple. One of these love boys told me I was the biggest girl he ever had dated. I was 5'5" and weight about 150lbs. I was flat chested and bottom heavy.  He thought I was "cute" but not beautiful. And so the battled raged on, only more intense than ever. I walked miles upon miles each day, I  ate dry tuna on plain low- fat bagels or ate angel hair pasta with canned tomatoes and canned corn, no fat.  And that was it. For months and months until I weighed a whopping 135 lbs. And still it wasn't enough. He didn't find me beautiful then either.   When I look back on pictures of that time I do not see a healthy girl, I see a girl who was completely starving and out of her mind. I see a girl who thought she looked like the girl I look like now. I look sick. I look funny. I do not look healthy. Jump ahead  a couple of years, I have gained some of the weight back,  and suddenly Sweet Man comes into the picture. And he loves me. He thinks I am beautiful. Just like I am. Flat chested, bottom heavy, soft middle. And he means it. There are no "buts" attached to his proclamations of love. He loves me. Period. He never turns away from me, he never acts embarrassed by my size. Never compares me to other girls or hints that I should cut back.  And this love he gives me, this delight he finds in me, it gives me the courage to believe what I have always secretly suspected, but have never had the courage to truly live out. The courage to believe that I am enough. Period. Not good enough until... But enough as I am. All that I am. Thighs and all.


That is Part 1 of the story. Part 2 is this: Yes, it concerns me. Yes, it is something I think about. Do I want to be 135lbs again? Nope. Would I like to be 175lbs again? Yes. That was the best weight for me. I was full but happy. Healthy and energetic.
And I honestly hope that I can get there again in the next few years. 
But am I going to let it shame me that I am not there now? No. Am I going to hide my pictures and pretend that this is not who we are now? No. I believe that the best policy is honesty. It is looking your reality straight in the face and saying "this is what it is. now, what do I think about that?"
And so here it is: I weigh 25 more lbs than my ideal weight.
I want to lose those 25 lbs.
But the fact is that my life is really full at the moment, and as it so happens, so are my pants.
But I am trying to have grace for myself and remember that I am still enough. I am loved. I am happy. I open my hands to grace as best as I can, as often as I can, and I try to remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. 
Weight will always be on my radar. And it may always be on yours. But I hope you know that you are enough as well. Just as you are, whoever you are, however big or small.
And on the off chance that this applies (and seeing how you are human too it probably will) I hope that whatever fight you have been fighting since you were 4 years old, that somehow you find the courage inside to put down your sword and open your hands and let the grace flow in. Because really, that is the whole ballgame. 

Sincerely,
Jerusalem


Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.  ~Dr. Seuss

59 comments:

  1. Bravo big sis! Way to lead and teach once more!

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  2. When I read that comment, my mouth fell open. I just wanted to commend you on your grace. Not sure that I would have handled that quite as well. Wonderfully said.

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  3. Wow girl!! I applaud you for that reply.It was both eloquent and succinct. Bravo :)

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  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And P.S. you are all kinds of cute! :)

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  5. I love you I love you I love you.

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  6. I have my own open letter to anonymous: you were completely and totally 100% right - you did come off as "totally, awfully rude." I have never understood people who think it's okay to anonymously say something on a blog comment that they wouldn't say in real life. Have you checked your rude-ometer lately? Because seriously- it's inflated.
    And oh my word, Jerusalem, you are gorgeous and don't you for one second think otherwise. Also- this kind of thing is the reason I do not allow anonymous comments on my blog (check your settings.) Because apparently rude people abound.
    Loved your response!

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  7. I have read your blog for a while. I have never left a comment. I wanted to say thank you for this post. God looks on the inward man and sees our hearts. You are both beautiful on the inside and out:)

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  8. It is really hard to believe the things that people say sometimes!!
    Cheers to you...you handled this so well.
    Ashlyn

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  9. You are so amazing the way you are. Honestly, how many of us doesn't expand a bit in the middle of our lives? This anonymous person needs to chill.
    I have never commented on your blog, but I read it faithfully, and always enjoy. You do good work. Thanks for sharing your story. That was brave. Take good care.

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  10. Thanks for your honesty once again. And well done for responding to that nasty comment with such love and grace, I've certainly learnt something from you today, -I'm pretty sure I couldn't have been that nice about it. x P.S. You're gorgeous!

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  11. Oh, how I love you, beautiful lady! And your whole beautiful family!

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  12. Dear Jerusalem,
    You've already won the battle, you have a sweet family, a loving husband and God. Pay no attention to this one random person who left a message, there will always be people like that. As always, I enjoy your blog and keep up the beautiful pictures!

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  13. Well said Jeroo-- you are fabulous- love you much!

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  14. Nobody named Anonymous deserves a reply. But you nailed it. (You forgot to mention that you got your daddy's genes instead of your mom's, so you had a weight-curse from the start.) I love you! -- Big Fat Tub of Goo (AKA daddy-o)

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  15. I just have to say your blog has truly been an inspiration. Your relationship with God shines threw your words today just as it does in every post. The fact that someone wanted to shoot you down only proves their own unhappiness. Thank you for sharing your life with your readers...Psalm 112:4-7 Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.

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  16. Nancy8:59 AM

    As a person who has struggled with her weight her whole life you are my new hero. I see only a light coming from you filled with joy. You are at a place of acceptance that I long for. You are beautiful and that negative cruel comment came from envy I am sure. That person may never struggle with weight but being hurtful and just plain mean is a far worse burden to carry!

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  17. Not nice but nothing compared to what a friend of mine is and has been forced to deal with for six years. See http://enoughof.com if curious...

    but you 2 look like a happy, beautiful couple to me and I wish you much more happiness - don't let people like that get to you!

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  18. My thought when I read the comment:

    Who taught my grandmother how to use the internet???!!

    For reals, my grandmother would totally say that.

    Only she would have signed her name.

    Oh God love the Southern woman and her quest for the fake skinny, fake tan and fake happy!

    Cheers for full, healthy and happy!

    Bon courage, amie!

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  19. Wow- happened to pop over and was amazed by that comment... isn't it strange, how people think it's OK to "just" say whatever they want to?? As if we aren't aware of our flaws, and don't need them pointed out? Way to hit a sore spot- and ON PURPOSE. WOW. We come on all shapes and sizes, and that's the way we're made. We are beautiful, just the way we are. Period.

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  20. You are beautiful and encouraging. Your blog is an inspiration and a favorite place for me to come when things seem hard. It's a safe spot. God has given you special talents-yup, folks get jealous.

    Stand tall, stand firm, live brave and know as you know, as you know, that you are nine shades of lovely.

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  21. Jerusalem, you are one of a kind, for sure. In your beauty, your grace, and your spirit. You are perfect just the way you are. And I love you. Nancy

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  22. you addressed that beautifully, even though they didn't deserve it. And even though I don't know you, I think you are amazing! God bless you and your family!

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  23. Thank you for sharing. Having never been a "little" girl, I can sympathize with how rude some people can be. I grew up with a size 6 mom and a size 4 sister. I think I was a size 6 when I was like 10. You are perfect the way you are, regardless of size. It's a shame that our world is full of stick figures with no brains or hearts. Fortunately for us, you are not one of them and you have addressed the issues with grace. You're brilliant, creative and beautiful, thanks for sharing your life with us. :o)
    Kate

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  24. I honestly dont think I have ever commented on ur blog. But I religiously look at it almost daily, gaining amazing inspiration from your beautiful home and decorating style, and the lovely things you write about. And i distinctly remember the pic u posted a couple posts back of you and your sweet man on the blanket, and I thought 'they look so perfect and beautiful together!' So cheers to your 'inflatedness' and if you decide to 'deflate' those 25 lbs...you are beautiful because of WHO you are. :)

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  25. Jerusalem,

    This is the first time I read your blog, found it through Amy, a Facebook friend. Won't be the last. You truly were much, MUCH more gracious than I could've been in your reply to Anon.

    You. ROCK. That is all.

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  26. So sorry that you received that unkind comment. I thought that particular post was so endearing. My mom always said If you don't have something nice to say, well don't say anything.

    blessings,
    Danielle

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  27. Hey beautiful lady! I fell in love a little more with you today. And clearly your Sweet Man is brilliant and has good taste. I was having a lot of rude comments over the last year insulting my parenting, calling one of my children ugly and all sorts of other mean things. We can't let miserable people bring us down. You handled this perfectly.

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  28. I had my first hate mail the other day from an anonymous also. It kinda made me sick every time I thought about it. I thought about erasing it. Then decided against it. You are a beautiful woman with a wonderful heart and gift for words. I am thankful to have found your blog. You have truly blessed me with your words today.

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  29. Well said. As someone else here said a lot of old people have lost their "filter". My dad would say awful things. Of course he had dementia and could no longer use a computer. my momma: 'Beauty is and beauty does". you are beautiful. anon. has problems.

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  30. I'm just a lurker but I had to write and say Amen to you.
    xo

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  31. Seriously? That commenter has an awful lot of bitter in them...it must burn in her/his throat. You are gorgeous, inside and out! AND full of grace!

    Love you and your blog,
    Linda
    xoxo

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  32. Shoshanna7:54 PM

    What a perfect response, both for its eloquence and for its kind, gracious tone that makes Anonymous' self-proclaimed rudeness stick out like even more of a sore thumb. After reading this post, I took a look at the lovely pictures from "14 years ..." and was struck by how much your love for each other seems like it's being "inflated" as the years progress. What a beautiful thing.

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  33. Sweet friend, you are and have always been one of the most beautiful people I know, both outside and in. I love your style, creativity and confidence, and when I need cheering up seeing a picture of your beautiful smile just brings back all sorts of happiness. All these comments have already said what I thought after reading your post. Hurting people often say hurtful things. As for that "boy" in college, you should have let the Venezuelan mafia after him. :) I'm so glad you have Sweet Man. Happy belated anniversary. Love you! Sarah

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  34. The only 'inflation' I see is of your happiness through the years with your Sweet Man and your family. Live life with no excuses. It's YOUR life and yours alone. Maybe I'm not society's ideal, either, but then again, who wants to be made up? I'm real. I eat cake. :-)It makes me happy!

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  35. This is why I LOVE reading your blog:You are so beautiful and gracious and honest!!

    Anonymous cleary doesn't know the LOVE you write about, so I feel a little sad for them :(

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  36. A beautiful response from a beautiful girl. Best, Karin

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  37. I am so, so, so glad to have read your eloquent response to "anonymous"!

    Funny thing is when I saw your wonderful photos celebrating life with your husband, all I saw was
    L-O-V-E!

    Happy Anniversary to you both!

    Peace,
    Donna

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  38. Girlfriend:
    When I look at you, I think "beautiful" and that is all. That's the way I generally think about all the people I love.
    In my own life, I have often been miserable and stewed about all the weight I've gained since I got married. If I got down to my pre-wedding weight again, people wouldn't recognize me. Or they'd ask, "Are you doing OK?"
    I would like for you to be happy, just as you are. I would like to be happiER about my own weight and, personally, get healthier - but that is in LOTS of aspects.
    ANON was hurtful. Can't imagine any of our friends saying anything even remotely similar as that to us. We're loved. It's great.
    Christine A.

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  39. Anonymous10:45 AM

    I cannot believe that a stranger remained anonymous and left a negative comment. That is beyond rude. It is cowardly and selfish. I was talking yesterday about the campaign The Body SHoppe had over 13 years ago, "Real Women have curves," and they had the picture of Barbie lounging, with her curvy figure.

    Personally, I have always been built like my grandfather, tall and skinny. Long sleeves shirts and jackets never fit because I have long arms. As a teen, I thought I would outgrow this, but it was not true. People got on to me when i was young, saying the shorts were too short, but when you are skinny, and tall, things that fit around you aren't long enough. At the baptist college, short skirts meant you were slutty, not skinny and tall.

    As an adult, I have learned to deal with my size better. I didn't have a parent built like me, so i didn't get advice from them. I had to search for brands that are made more to my body type.

    I exercise a lot, as a chef, I am around food all the time, and I really want to fit into the clothes i already own. But more importantly, I want to keep my heart healthy. I want to eat dessert and fit into my clothes. Regardless of size, everyone should exercise, not to lose weight, but to keep the muscles strong and heart healthy.

    I say all this to explain that even as a skinny kid, I had body issues that I have overcome as an adult.
    I am wearing shorts today that i wish were longer, but, whatever. I rode my bike for an hour in them, and smiled at strangers i passed and said, "good morning." And no one retorted, "short shorts, eh??!"

    I am glad you feel free to be yourself and hope you continue to love yourself, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!!

    Much love,
    Karen

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  40. AMEN, sistah!
    amen.

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  41. I totally heart you, totally agree and am totally inspired by you and this post!!

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  42. Wow. Couldn't agree more with what you said. I am right there with you, sister. Preach it.

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  43. Ouch! How rude for that person to say those things!! I've never left a comment on your blog before, but just wanted to add my two cents. You are beautiful inside and out! Thank you for the inspiring words and for keeping it real!!

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  44. Awwww, Jerusalem. Lovely post!

    I have also battled weight and watched myself inflate over the years. Especially since giving birth and being a full-time working mom.

    When I was in my late twenties, I dated a guy who told me that he was embarrassed to be seen with me in public. I was working out regularly and was a healthy size 10. I dumped him immediately telling him that I deserved to be with someone who was PROUD to be with me.

    One month later, I met the man who is now my husband. I am now a size 16 and he tells me all the time how beautiful I am. I am working on getting healthy now but I'm not beating myself up about it.

    Solidarity, Sister!!!!

    -Amy
    Crafting by Candlelight

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  45. When I saw your photos, all I could think was how great you looked. Your beauty is inside AND outside.

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  46. I feel like cheering loudly at your post, Jerusalem. :) What a spunky and wonderful response to a mean-spirited drive-by.

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  47. Beautifully written! Bravo to you for taking the higher road. I am sorry that someone felt compelled to leave such a negative and hurtful comment on your blog. I hope they have it in their heart to apologize and realize that it's not what's on the outside that matters, but what is on the inside.

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  48. Being the daughter of a woman who still wishes she had a skinny daughter and after being married to a man who determined how much he loved me by what size I was I didn't often feel worth much at all. With the quiet patience and grace that only our Lord can give I began to see myself as He sees me and not as my mother and not as my EX-husband. With that great revelation God gave me his greatest gift. He gave me a man that had never dated a "big" girl. A man that since the moment he first saw me has never seen my weight as anything other than a number. So I want to give a little shout out to our wonderful husbands who have the capacity to love outside of what society tells them is what they should love. I would be lost without this man and the affirmation he gives me everyday. In a society where more woman are unhappy in their marriages I am going to tell the world - I adore my husband to distraction and thank you God for gifting him to me. I will spend the rest of my life treasuring and taking care of that gift! Thank you for your courage to respond with such grace!

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  49. You are beautiful and I love your blog. Stay graceful! Susan

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  50. Anonymous10:08 AM

    Thank you for your post....It spoke volumes to me. I have always battled with my weight....I am 5'3 and weight 169 lbs. I was never skinny but after 2 babies I weigh more than ever before. I finally, after almost 3 years posted a picture of myself on Facebook...always before it was pictures of my kids. I didn't want my high school friends to see my picture...all of the other moms are thin and gorgeous. I finally decided last week that this is me and I am still trying to lose weight, exercise more and eat healthier but this is me now and I am tired of being ashamed of myself.

    Thanks so much for your post!
    Kathleen

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  51. Wow! I'm amazed at how some people focus so much on outward appearances. When I saw your anniversary post all I thought about was how happy and amazing you both look, what awesome pictures, and what a wonderful love story! How much or little you both weighed then and now didn't even enter my mind. Your response back to Anonymous was tactful and spot on.

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  52. amazing, amazing, amazing! Thank you for this! Just came to your blog today via Life Made Lovely and now I will most definitely be putting you in my reader! "not good enough until....but enough as I am" seriously sooooo good! Thank you!

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  53. This is my very first time EVER reading your blog, and I teared up when I read that comment, and then more when I read your response. The Lord is obviously completely overflowing from you, because that response was full of honesty and grace. I just wanted to remind you that you are fearfully and WONDERFULLY made!!!!! You're a WORK OF ART! Don't ever let someone like that shame you. Anonymous is clearly unhappy with him/herself, and I pray that she finds the kind of peace that you have.
    Psalm 34:5 says "Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed."

    YOU are RADIANT.

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  54. This is my first visit to your blog and I'm so happy I fell upon it this morning. What a beautifully graceful and courageous reply to Anonymous. You are beautiful through and through. Keep letting your light shine.
    From another new blog friend,
    Lallee (plump and happy in God)

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  55. Jerusalem,

    I so much appreciate your courage and your big open heart. This post has meant so much to me. I was skinny as long as I lived in my mother's house. A combination of her iron control and never having been on birth control kept me that way. By the time I had been on birth control and married, both for three months, I had gained 35 pounds. The doctor told me it was normal when (at 21) I went to see him about it. Since I had always been so skinny, the 30 pounds didn't make too big a difference. I think I went from a size 6 to almost a 10. I was five foot ten inches tall. Now? Well, now I carry FAR more than 25 pounds of extra weight. And I am OK with that. I don't feel bad about myself. I have a husband who loves me. And I know in whose image I am created. However, I have always avoided talking about it. Your courage has blessed me. Thank you.

    I wish I could say something to you that would be a gift for you as you have been a gift for me. I can't. But, know this. I am sending you love and prayers. Prayers for blessings and safety on you and yours. Much love, Relyn

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ok, really. tell me the truth... do these comments make me look fat?

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