Stepdad's Thoughts

My thought and feelings.

Tae Kwon Do as rehabilitation

I’m not one that likes to see re-posts but I found this very inspiring;

I received an email from ‘Everyday Health’ about how Tae Kwon Do helped to save a young teen. Below is the beginning of the article and the link to the entire story;

Breaking Through: How Tae Kwon Do Saved One Teen’s Brain

It was an otherwise normal day when 13-year-old Kassidy Brewer experienced a ruptured brain aneurysm that nearly killed her. This is the story of how her passion for martial arts — and an unrelenting family support system — brought her back to life.

By Sharon Tanenbaum

Click here for the full story;
Watch the videos associated with the story also. This is a very inspiring young lady.
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September 15, 2011 Posted by | Concerns, General, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interesting sayings on window stickers

During lunch I was looking for a new “Terrorist Hunting Permit” sticker; having found it I looked around the web site and found some other interesting verbiage.

Patriotism is Supporting Your Country All the Time and Your Government When It Deserves It

If you can read this thank a teacher, if you can read this in English, thank a vet.

When it absolutely, positively has to be destroyed overnight. United States Marine Corps

All gave some, some gave all. (POW MIA You are not forgotten)

Semper Fi

Except for ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism & Communism, War has never solved anything.

“Two of the gravest general dangers to survival are a desire for comfort and a passive outlook.”

To err is human, To forgive is divine; Neither is Marine Corps policy

Join the Army. Risk your life, Defend the Constitution, then come home and have the liberals treat you like shit.

If You Love Your Freedom Thank A Veteran

January 14, 2011 Posted by | General, Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Widow Jensen- A Christmas Story . . .

This was sent to me via email; the author of the story is unknown but I felt it was something that needed saved and shared. This really does sum up what Christmas should be like instead of all the ruckas  we all go through.

A Christmas Story

This is what Christmas is all about…

Better bundle up – the goose bumps will freeze you!!  I think I need to read this every year at Christmas.

Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities.  But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors.   It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.

It was Christmas Eve 1881.  I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted for Christmas.  We did the chores early that night for some reason.  I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.

After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible.  I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn’t get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside.  I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all the chores.  I didn’t worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.  Soon Pa came back in.  It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. “Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good, it’s cold out tonight.” I was really upset then.  Not only wasn’t I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see.  We’d already done all the chores, and I couldn’t think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this.  But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one’s feet when he’d told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens.  Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house.  Something was up, but I didn’t know what.

Outside, I became even more dismayed.  There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled.  Whatever it was we were going to do wasn’t going to be a short, quick, little job.  I could tell.  We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load.  Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand.  I reluctantly climbed up beside him.  The cold was already biting at me.  I wasn’t happy.  When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed.

He got off and I followed. “I think we’ll put on the high sideboards,” he said.  “Here, help me.”  The high sideboards!  It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high sideboards on.

After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood – the wood I’d spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all fall sawing into blocks and splitting.

What was he doing?  Finally I said something.  “Pa,” I asked, “what are you doing?”  “You been by the Widow Jensen’s lately?” he asked.  The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road.  Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight.  Sure, I’d been by, but so what?

Yeah,” I said, “Why?”

“I rode by just today,” Pa said. “Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They’re out of wood, Matt.”  That was all he said and then he turned and went back into  the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him.  We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it.  Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon.  He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait.  When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.

“What’s in the little sack?” I asked.  Shoes, they’re out of shoes.  Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning.  I got the children a little candy too.  It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a  little candy.”

We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen’s pretty much in silence.  I tried to think through what Pa was doing.  We didn’t have much by worldly standards.

Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it.  We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn’t have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy?  Really,  why was he doing any of this?  Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn’t have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door.

We knocked.  The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, “Who is it?”

“Lucas Miles, Ma’am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?”

Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in.  She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders.  The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all.  Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

“We brought you a few things, Ma’am,” Pa said and set down the sack of flour.  I put the meat on the table.  Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it.  She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time.  There was a pair for her and one for each of the children – sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last.  I watched her carefully.

She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks.  She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn’t come out.

“We brought a load of wood too, Ma’am,” Pa said.  He turned to me and said, “Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile.  Let’s get that fire up to size and heat this place up.”  I wasn’t the same person when  I went back out to bring in the wood.  I had a big lump in my throat and as mu ch as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too.  In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn’t speak.

My heart swelled within me and a joy that I’d never known before, filled my soul.  I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference.  I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone’s spirits soared.  The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn’t crossed her face for a long time.  She finally turned to us. “God bless you,” she said. “I know the Lord has sent you.  The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us.”

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again.  I’d never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true.  I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth.  I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others.  The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left.  I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get.  Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down Widow Jensen’s face again when we stood up to leave.  Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug.  They clung to him and didn’t want us to go.  I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, “The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow.  The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals.  We’ll be by to get you about eleven.  It’ll be nice to have some little ones around again.  Matt, here, hasn’t been little for quite a spell.”  I was the youngest.  My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.

Widow Jensen nodded and said, “Thank you, Brother Miles.  I don’t have to say, May the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will.”

 

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn’t even notice the cold.  When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, “Matt, I want you to know something.  Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn’t have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square.  Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do.  Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand.”

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again.  I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it.  Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities.  Pa had given me a lot more.  He had given me the look on Widow Jensen’s face and the radiant smiles of her three children.

For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night.  Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.

 

December 6, 2010 Posted by | Concerns, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bigotry and the Measles By Ron Pittenger

I found this while reading another blog and wanted to make sure I never lost it… Very well said.

Bigotry and the Measles
By Ron Pittenger (http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/2010/08/bigotry-and-measles.html)

Bigotry is a lot like the measles. Like measles, it is catching. You might say it’s an equal opportunity disease that respects no human-designated boundaries, affecting as it does people of all races, creeds, sexes, and politics. Most often, it is caught when we are young.

Bigotry is the fallacy of assuming people fall into groups, that the groups are easily classified, known, and manipulated. It assumes the people within each group are fungible, interchangeable, with individuality being of no particular concern. If you have eight $1 bills in your wallet, you don’t care—and it doesn’t really matter, does it—which one you spend on a $1 purchase. If people were like dollar bills, this would be the end of the essay.

Unlearning to be a bigot is difficult because most people catch the disease early, and what we take in as truth when young is very difficult to deny later. It requires us to think and make judgments of our own and to stop relying on the judgments made by our parents and elders.

Like most men of their times, one born in 1903 and the other in 1905, both my grandfathers were bigots. One said he disliked only blacks and Jews; the other was less discriminating, claiming he hated everyone outside our family, and wondering about some of us, too. Oddly, both men got along well with all the people they claimed not to like.

In the early 1950s, our church burned down. My father was a volunteer on the town’s ambulance squad, and went to most of the town’s fires in case someone was injured or burned. He came home and told us that before the fire was completely extinguished, the rabbi of the Jewish congregation half a block down the street from our church had already offered our minister the use of their hall until our building was rebuilt. So, for most of a year, we had our services in the synagogue. And I never heard another bad word about Jews from either grandfather.

The one who claimed to hate everybody was the person who soothed our worries and fears when a black family moved next door to us in 1955. The man of the house, Gramps said, had worked at his company for nearly 20 years and had been Grandpa’s lodge brother almost as long. “He wants the same things we want,” Gramps said, “and he works hard to get them, just like we do. He’s a good, honest man.” So, I grew up with black neighbors, Bill Sterling and his wife Aaron. I liked and respected them both.

Being young and stupid, sometimes I tried to ask Bill or Aaron questions like “What do your people want?” Usually, Bill’d just look at me like I was a total idiot and say he didn’t know. Aaron would just smile and ignore the question. One summer, when I was around 12 or 13, there were race riots in a town about 20 miles away. Again, I asked Bill what “his people” wanted. When he dodged, I pressed for an answer. I got one I haven’t forgotten.

“How should I know?” Bill said. “I guess I could say what I want, and maybe even make it stick with my wife, but we black folks are just as confused and contrary as you white folks. I can’t be a spokesman for anybody but me. And, then, I might change my mind, just like you do. So, ask me what I want and I’ll try to tell you.”

As my Gramps had said, Bill Sterling was an honest man and a good teacher. I learned my lesson very well. I have never since taken anybody’s word for it that they had the right to act as spokesman for another individual unless they had visible proof in the form of elected office, a successful business, practice, or congregation, and even then, I take it with a grain of salt. Like Bill said, folks do change their minds.

My first date was taking Bill’s niece, Betsy, to the 8th grade class dance. I didn’t view this as being in any way political. She was just Betsy, a nice girl who lived two streets over, and was really pretty. It wasn’t her skin color but her personality that mattered. Had she been disagreeable, I would have found a different date. In fact, Betsy’s neighbor was a year behind us in school. She was as nasty as Betsy was nice. The girl lacked many things, but chiefly self confidence and blamed it on “whitey” or his local representative—in other words, me. But, her brother, a year ahead of Betsy and me, was nice. How do you figure things like this out? You don’t. You learn not to try to predict the actions of other individuals until you know them. And this is exactly the problem with many of our government programs today.

Have you noticed how often government programs fail to improve the lot of the individuals the programs are supposed to help? By its very nature, governments cannot tailor programs to individuals. Even at the town or village level, governments have to operate on the basis of “the group,” not the individual. Higher governments must work with ever larger groups. Only by making the assumption that every member of the group is fungible can group-aimed government programs work as promised. Similarly, programs for groups can miss their goal by wide margins by failing to take into account the individuals who will be “helped.”

Companies and business organizations do a little better, but not much. They want to get their money’s worth out of the program, so they are more careful who they pick and how they structure the program. But, as the organization becomes larger, it falls into the same trap as governments, trying to satisfy the needs of an idealized group, and fails in the same ways for the same reasons.

In the United States of America, we count the votes one at a time, individual choice by individual choice. That’s who we are, a nation of individuals, not a nation of groups. I can promise you this: when you stand before the Judgment Seat and the Great Book is opened, you won’t be judged as part of a group. You will be saved or damned by your own actions, one person at a time. Just like it ought to be here. When our political parties realize this basic truth we will, each of us, be better off.

September 20, 2010 Posted by | General | , , , , | Leave a comment

Texas Cities

Only in Texas
This is a must read for all Texans, used-to-be Texans, adopted Texans or wanna-be Texans:

Just Texas

Pep , Texas 79353
Smiley , Texas 78159
Paradise , Texas 76073
Rainbow , Texas 76077
Sweet Home , Texas 77987
Comfort , Texas 78013
Friendship, Texas 76530

No need to travel to Washington D.C.
Whitehouse ,  Texas   75791
We even have a city named after our planet!
Earth ,  Texas   79031
We have a city named after our state:
Texas City, Texas   77590
Exhausted?
Energy,  Texas   76452
Cold?
Blanket, Texas   76432
Winters,  Texas 79567
Love the sun?
Sun City, Texas 78628
Sunrise, Texas 76661
Sunset, Texas 76270
Sundown, Texas 79372
Sunray, Texas 79086
Sunny Side,  Texas 77423
Like to read about History?
Santa Anna ,  Texas 76878
Goliad ,  Texas 77963
Alamo ,  Texas 78516
Gun Barrel City ,  Texas 75156
Robert  Lee ,  Texas 76945
Want something to eat?
Bacon , Texas 76301
Noodle , Texas 79536
Oatmeal , Texas 78605
Turkey , Texas 79261
Trout , Texas 75789
Sugar Land , Texas 77479
Salty, Texas 76567
Rice , Texas 75155
Pearland , Texas 77581
Orange , Texas 77630
And top it off with:
Sweetwater , Texas 79556
Why travel to other cities?  Texas has them all!
Detroit , Texas 75436
Cleveland , Texas 75436
Colorado City , Texas 79512
Denver City , Texas 79323
Klondike , Texas 75448
Pittsburg, Texas 75686
Newark, Texas 76071
Nevada , Texas 75173
Memphis , Texas 79245
Miami , Texas 79059
Boston , Texas 75570
Santa Fe , Texas 77517
Tennessee Colony , Texas 75861
Reno , Texas 75462
Pasadena , Texas 77506
Columbus , Texas 78934
Feel like traveling outside the country?
Athens , Texas 75751
Canadian, Texas 79014
China , Texas 77613
Dublin, Texas 76446
Egypt , Texas 77436
Ireland, Texas 76538
Italy, Texas 76538
Turkey, Texas 79261
London , Texas 76854
New London, Texas 75682
Paris, Texas 75460
Palestine, Texas 75801
Other city names in Texas , to make you smile……
Frognot , Texas 75424
Bigfoot , Texas 78005
Hogeye , Texas 75423
Cactus , Texas 79013
Notrees , Texas 79759
Best, Texas 76932
Veribest , Texas 76886
Kickapoo , Texas 75763
Dime Box , Texas 77853
Old Dime Box , Texas 77853
Telephone , Texas 75488
Telegraph , Texas 76883
Whiteface , Texas 79379
Twitty, Texas 79079
Need Office Supplies?
Staples,  Texas 78670

You guessed it. It’s on the state line.
Texline ,  Texas   79087

Want to go into outer space?
Venus ,  Texas   76084
Mars ,  Texas   79062
For the kids…
Kermit , Texas 79745
Elmo , Texas 75118
Nemo , Texas 76070
Tarzan , Texas 79783
Winnie , Texas 77665
Sylvester , Texas 79560
And our favorites…
Cut and Shoot, Texas 77303
Gun Barrel City , Texas 75147
Ding Dong, Texas
West, Texas (it’s in Central Texas )
and, of course,
Muleshoe , Texas 79347
And last but not least, the Anti-Al Gore City
Kilgore , Texas 75662

September 3, 2010 Posted by | General | , , , | 3 Comments

Texas Facts

This is from an email my Dad sent to me… You just have to Love Texas.

Here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about folks from Texas

  1. If someone in a Lowe’s store offers you assistance and they don’t work there, you may live in Texas ;
  2. If you’ve worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in Texas ;
  3. If you’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you may live in Texas ;
  4. If ‘Vacation’ means going anywhere south of Dallas for the weekend, you may live in Texas ;
  5. If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Texas ;
  6. If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Texas ;
  7. If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both unlocked, you may live in Texas ;
  8. If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Texas
  9. If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph –you’re going 80 and everybody’s passing you, you may live in Texas ;
  10. If you find 60 degrees ‘a little chilly,’ you may live in Texas ;
  11. If you actually understand these jokes, and share them with all your Texas friends, you definitely live in Texas..

Here are some little known, very interesting facts about Texas.

  • Beaumont to  El Paso : 742 miles
  • Beaumont to  Chicago : 770 miles
  • El Paso is closer to  California than to  Dallas
  • World’s first rodeo was in Pecos, July 4, 1883.
  • The Flagship Hotel in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built over water. Destroyed by Hurricane Ike -2008!
  • The Heisman Trophy was named after John William Heisman who was the first full-time coach at Rice University in Houston.
  • Brazoria  County has more species of birds than any other area in North America
  • Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America’s only remaining flock of whooping cranes.
  • Jalapeno jelly originated in Lake Jackson in 1978.
  • The worst natural disaster in U.S. history was in 1900, caused by a hurricane, in which over 8,000 lives were lost on Galveston   Island.
  • The first word spoken from the moon, July 20, 1969, was “Houston”, but the space center was actually in Clear Lake City at the time.
  • King Ranch in South Texas is larger than Rhode Island..
    Tropical Storm Claudette brought a U.S. rainfall record of 43′ in 24hours in and around Alvin in July of 1979…
  • Texas is the only state to enter the U.S. by TREATY, (known as the Constitution of 1845 by the Republic of Texas to enter the Union) instead of by annexation. This allows the Texas Flag to fly at the same height as the U.S. Flag, and may divide into 5 states.
  • A Live Oak tree near Fulton is estimated to be 1500 years old.
  • Caddo   Lake is the only natural lake in the state.
  • Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. There is no period in Dr Pepper.
  • Texas has had six capital cities: Washington -on- the Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston, Velasco, West Columbia and Austin.
  • The Capitol Dome in Austin is the only dome in the U.S. which is taller than the Capitol Building in Washington   DC (by 7 feet).
  • The San Jacinto Monument is the tallest free standing monument in the world and it is taller than the Washington monument.
  • The name ‘Texas’ comes from the Hasini Indian word ‘tejas’ meaning friends. Tejas is not Spanish for Texas.
  • The State Mascot is the Armadillo (an interesting bit of trivia about the armadillo is they always have four babies. They have one egg, which splits into four, and they either have four males or four females.).
  • The first domed stadium in the U.S. was the Astrodome in Houston.

Cowboy’s Ten Commandments: posted on the wall at Cross Trails Church in Fairlie, Texas:

  1. Just one God.
  2. Honor yer Ma & Pa.
  3. No telling tales or gossipin’.
  4. Git yourself to Sunday meeting.
  5. Put nothin’ before God.
  6. No foolin’ around with another fellow’s gal.
  7. No killin’.
  8. Watch yer mouth.
  9. Don’t take what ain’t yers.
  10. Don’t be hankerin’ for yer buddy’s stuff.

Y’all git all that?
Lord, keep Your arm around my shoulder
and Your hand over my mouth.

September 3, 2010 Posted by | General | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What If?

I wonder what my life would be like if the choice I made had been different.

What if I had chosen to complete college and entered into law enforcement as I had originally planned. I can imagine I would be near retirement with well over 20 years of service or sitting pretty in some pencil pushing desk job. Who knows?

What if I had not married my first wife and worked more on the job/career? Would I be doing what I am today?

What if I chose not to remarry? What would I be doing today?

What if when I was thirteen I had drown in the undertow I was caught in? What would my family be doing today?

What if I was not as hard set on right and wrong?

September 1, 2010 Posted by | General | , , , | Leave a comment

UN-APOLOGETICAMERICAN:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America

and to the “REPUBLIC” for which it stands;

one nation under God, indivisible,

with liberty and justice for all.

I grew up reciting this every morning in school; it is a crying shame we no longer do that for fear of “offending someone”.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | General | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hap Ki Do – HighGreen Belt

I passed the belt advancement test Friday night to acquirer my High-Green Belt. We were put through our paces prior to the test. Each time the physical component of the test gets more tough, fortunately I am increasing in stamina and have been able to complete the given tasks. Our testing Friday night was for adults only due to the number of kids. The kids teat on Saturday which takes a big part of the day to complete. The adults test on Fridays which only took 2 hours, test was for Blue belt and below. The higher belts test separately and on a different schedule. Tae Kwon Do went first and took the longest, there were only three testing for Hap Ki Do most of the other students are Red Belts.

Testing went really good. I helped out the White Belt, I was the attacker for his 10 escape techniques. I was fortunate to have our Master as my attacker, he tends to make things a bit more difficult but I get to learn more that way also. He is a bit taller than I am and decided to actually take me off the ground during one of the attacks I had to defend against. It had me guessing for a minute but I managed to get free.

I look forward to learning more.

June 7, 2010 Posted by | General, Hap Ki Do | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Memorial Day

There is nothing more to say.

May 13, 2010 Posted by | Concerns, General | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment