Walking in Your Own Shoes by Kolleen Lucariello

This Word Girl blog resonated with me as I’ve been getting rid of my shoes (about 70 pair – am I a bit of a shoe lover?) I’d apparently been purchasing my former size for some time and needed a new arch support (no wonder so many didn’t fit so well) so I’ve made a couple of gals really happy.

 

Though I haven’t yet met Koleen in person yet, I count her a friend, and feel I know her from our Facebook and writer contacts. (see below)

Here’s what Kolleen Lucariello has to say about shoes:

Here in my home state of New York, October ushers in the fun of pumpkins, apple picking and salmon fishing season. There’s also the beauty of leaves peaking, apple cider and cozy sweaters. Among the many things October has to offer, it has also been designated as Women Walking in Their Own Shoes month: a global call for women to say yes to their purpose, passion and power.

 

If you’re like me, fall also means it’s time to shed the flip-flops, put away the sandals, and slip your feet back into a pair of shoes. Preferably comfortable ones—it’s never enjoyable to spend a day in shoes that don’t fit.

 

Once, while visiting my parents, I slipped my feet into a pair of my mother’s shoes so I could retrieve something from the car. Immediately, I noticed we walk completely differently; she walks on the inside of her sole—I don’t. My feet in her shoes didn’t work well. Come to think of it, I’ve stood in the clearance section trying to squeeze my feet into the wrong size shoe all for the sake of cuteness. I’ve also clomped around in shoes too big out of convenience. Neither were comfortable. Did you know it’s possible to cause serious harm to yourself by wearing shoes that don’t fit properly?

 

Serious harm can also happen when insecurities keep you from walking in your own shoes. Just as there’s comfort when we slip our feet into our own shoes, comfort can be found when we slip ourselves into the purpose, passion and power God has given us.

 

Paul wrote, “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone” (Ephesians 1:11-12, MSG).

 

When we say yes to Christ, we say yes to purpose because we discover what we are living for. We say yes to passion because we recognize who we are, and we say yes to power because we understand the kingdom of God is not based on talk but on power (1 Corinthians 4:20).

 

Cinderella was the only one who could wear the glass slipper.

 

You’re the only one who can walk in your shoes.

 

ABOUT

 

Kolleen Lucariello, #TheABCGirl, the author of the devotional book, The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am, resides in Central New York with her husband, Pat. You can connect with Kolleen at www.speakkolleen.com as she pursues God’s heartbeat to change our identity—one letter at a time.

 

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After Losing a Child – Missing my girl

Missing my girl today (You know how it is… something happens and I think, “Oh, I’ve got to tell Laurie that” but when I pick up the phone I remember…
and then I was sorting some old pictures of my Mom’s and came across a couple of emails from several years ago.  I don’t know how they got there, but they were like a message from Heaven.  Here’s part of one…
….But now I’ll stop and take a moment to wish you Happy Mother’s Day! Since I’m in poetry mode – a couple poems By Joanna Fuchs to express my love for you!
Without You
Mom, without you, there would be no me.
Your love, your attention, your guidance,
have made me who I am.
Without you, I would be lost,
wandering aimlessly,
without direction or purpose.
You showed me the way
to serve, to accomplish, to persevere.
Without you, there would be an empty space
I could never fill, no matter how I tried.
Instead, because of you,
I have joy, contentment, satisfaction, and peace.
Thank you, mom.
I have always loved you
and I always will.
I Learned From You
I learned about love from you,
Watching your caring ways.
I learned about joy from you
In fun-filled yesterdays.
From you I learned forgiving
Of faults both big and small.
I learned what I know about living
From you, as you gave life your all.
The example you set is still with me
I’d never want any other.
I’m thankful for all that you taught me,
And I’m blessed to call you “Mother.”
I Love You!
Laurie
Until then…
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7 Tips for Handling Anxiety – by Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Word Girls guest blog Michele Bengston.

Real. Those are the type of people and things that move me most. Real stories, books and movies based on real people dealing with real life.  Real tears and real joy at simple things. I’ve not yet met this lady in person, but feel I know her well because she is real. She exposes her heart and her weaknesses along with her victories in a matter-of-fact way that encourages me.

Michele Bengston is living and has come through many of the anxieties that can tear us down. I’m pleased today to share some of her hard-experienced wisdom and to pray for you, that you would find encouragment in her words:

Worry, fear, and anxiety are epidemic. Anxiety disorders are the most common class of mental health disorders.[i]

 

It started in Genesis, when Adam and Eve developed an unhealthy fear of God, prompting them to hide in the garden after realizing their nakedness.

 

God commands us not to worry or fear over 300 times, because He knew we would.

 

Scripture Gives 7 Tips for Handling Anxiety:

 

  1. Recognize it exists. My people perish for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)

 

  1. Realize those thoughts aren’t your thoughts. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

 

  1. Ask God what prompted the concern. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. (John 16:13)

 

  1. Combat anxiety with the truth of God’s Word. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

 

  1. When tempted to worry, vocalize God’s truth. So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

 

  1. Trust God to handle your situation and thank Him for His answers. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (Philippians 4:6)

 

  1. Stand firm, resist the devil, and command him to leave! Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s. (Matthew 16:23) So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

 

Anxiety isn’t from God. Instead God gives us power, love, and a sound mind. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

 

Will you exchange your anxiety for His power, love, and sound mind?

 

About the Author:

Meet Dr. Bengtson here : Hope Prevails

Dr. Bengtson, author of Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression is a clinical neuropsychologist and international speaker. She gives practical tools, encourages faith, and offers hope to acquire peace and joy. She blogs at www.DrMichelleBengtson.com. Find her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DrMichelleBengtson), Pinterest (http://www.Pinterest.com/Drbhopeprevails), and Twitter (http://www.Twitter.com/DrMBengtson).

[i] Kessler RC, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Alonso J, Chatterji S, Lee S, Ormel J, Ustün TB, Wang PS. The global burden of mental disorders: an update from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) surveys. Epidemiol Psichiatr Soc 2009;18(1):23–33.

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Cancer: A Word that Strikes Terror – by Joanie Shawhan

Cancer.

I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t have a loved one (or themselves) experienced the disease.  I greatly respect those who have fought, and admire those who won.

Here is a winner – in attitude and heart as well:

Word Girls September Post #3 – Joanie Shawhan

 

Are there certain words that trigger pressure in your chest or tightness in your throat?

 

For me, that word is cancer.

 

I am an ovarian cancer survivor.

 

My Story

 

During the summer of 2006, Every time I had another bout of nausea, I brushed thoughts of ovarian cancer from my mind. Surely these spells were too infrequent to be cancer.

 

But in September, I rolled over in bed and felt a grapefruit-size mass in my abdomen. I closed my eyes and dismissed the whispers of ovarian cancer.

 

Several weeks later, I almost shot off the table when my physical therapist palpated my spine to isolate the location of my back pain. It’s not in my back, it’s jabbing through my abdomen!

 

My gynecologist suspected a uterine fibroid and ordered an ultrasound. Even in the dark room, I saw the ultrasound tech lock her eyes on mine. Something is seriously wrong.

 

Gripping the ultrasound report in her hand, my doctor said, “You have ovarian cancer, the size of a cantaloupe.” She rattled off all that needed done—scheduling tests and surgery. I barely heard her words. Was she talking to me?

 

When I walked into the hospital on surgery day, I exchanged my scrubs and nurse shoes for tieback gowns and skid-free slipper socks. The surgeon removed a volleyball-size tumor—ovarian cancer.

 

Today, I am cancer-free. During my treatment, I lost myself to ovarian cancer, but in losing myself, I found a new purpose and calling. Today I have an encouragement ministry to women undergoing chemotherapy. I advocate for and educate women and healthcare professionals regarding ovarian cancer. I write articles so that other women won’t put off getting checked out if they have any signs or symptoms, like I did.

 

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Ovarian cancer is the most lethal of all female cancers. The symptoms women experience prior to diagnosis may be vague or similar to other diseases. This causes some doctors to rule out other causes before they discover ovarian cancer, which is why it is often not diagnosed until later stages.

 

Contact your doctor if the following symptoms of ovarian cancer persist:

 

·      Gastrointestinal symptoms:

Bloating, indigestion, nausea, feeling full or loss of appetite

·      Pelvic or low back pressure or pain

·      Urinating more frequently

·      Changes in bowel patterns

·      Tired or low energy

 

Ovarian cancer used to be called the silent killer, but survival rates are high if discovered in the early stages. Learn from my story. Will you listen for the whispers of ovarian cancer?

 

 

About the Author:

Joanie Shawhan is an ovarian cancer survivor and a registered nurse. She writes encouraging articles for women undergoing chemotherapy. Her publishing credits include Coping with Cancer magazine and God Still Meets Needs. She speaks to medical practitioners in the Survivors Teaching Students program. Check out her blog at www.joanieshawhan.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Proposal for An Improved Marriage – by Lori Lipsky

Ken and I generally have vastly different reading tastes, but we do enjoy reading commentaries together!  Our current read is Romans by Montgomery Boice –

I found Lori Lipsky’s marital reading journey interesting. I think you will enjoy it too!

 

September Word Girl Blog 2 – Lori Lipsky

 

For the first time in our marriage, we decided to read a book at the same time so we could discuss it together. Credit for the idea goes to my husband, but I was excited about the plan and in total agreement with our book choice.

 

My husband had once asked a well-read acquaintance we both respect to reccommend several books that had been most influential in his life. One of the authors this man mentioned was Dostoevsky. We decided to choose Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. I’m a bit ashamed to admit what happened next.

 

I could make excuses, but the quick truth is my husband read the book right away and then patiently waited for years for me to complete it. I started in several times but got bogged down in the early pages by the long Russian names. Prior to this I had read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and some Chekhov stories so I’m not sure why I struggled. I guess I allowed myself to be distracted by life and by other books, and I put off the Dostoevsky. As I look back, I regret not making The Brothers Karamazov more of a priority. I eventually purchased an audio copy of the book and completed the novel.

 

After I finished listening to the book, we shared our impressions with one another. Remarkably, my husband remembered details of the book quite well. Since then, we’ve read or listened to dozens of books and discussed them. We have different tastes, but our interests intersect with authors like David McCullough, Louise Penny, and David Baldacci. When it’s time to order another Audible book, we’ll sometimes collaborate to choose a selection we agree on so we can both listen on our own, but then have the book in our shared reading history.

 

Our book talk is informal and brief, but it’s a treat to talk books with my husband. We’ve found discussing books often sparks interesting conversation. Good books teach me more about who I am, but each new book we share helps me learn more about my spouse, too. We’re learning together as a couple. We discuss dreams and ideas. Books get us talking, and in marriage, communication is a good thing.

 

About the Author:

Lori Lipsky is a writer and teacher. Her poetry and short fiction pieces have appeared in a variety of literary journals and magazines. She lives in Waunakee, Wisconsin with her husband, where she teaches piano at a private music school. You can find her at lorilipsky.com and on Twitter @LoriSLipsky

 

 

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Peace, Where are You?

My sister, Marvel, is right.

She is the one in the midst of the storm, or about to be.  Here I am over a thousand miles away, having my own storm over her safety.

Hers and so many others. America is being bombarded on so many sides, and so is my heart – dear friends in Texas are recovering from their hurricane, more out west are struggling to breathe and workers are beyond exhausted fighting wildfires.  A recent message from a missionary friend west of Honduras is surrounded with an earthquake on one side, and three hurricanes on the other.

And my sister, and several other relatives and friends near my heart are in Florida, where hurricane Irma is apparently heading.

Many are praying, some are fleeing – some are waiting – most are preparing – and some, perhaps many, like my sister are saying stop stressing. It is in God’s hands.

Ephesians 6:13 (message) says: Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Peace?

Yes, my sister has peace, and she is right.

Now is the time to apply our faith – to let it activate us!   What does activated faith look like?

 

  1. Eyes wide open – preparing in wisdom – doing all that is in your power to prepare to protect yourself and others (and that includes prayer and fasting!)
  2. Let – God – give you ongoing peace. We can only share what we have. Peace, where are you?  In God’s Word – under His wings – in His promises – in His sufficiency – in His power
  3. Last things first – There is always a real potential to meet eternity, but never does it seem so possible as when in the eye of a storm. If you don’t have that settled (Marvel does) do it now.  If you KNOW that you are ready to meet God, do you know how to share that truth with others? God’s Truth Unlimited has a simple explanation.

And so, I continue with many of you, also – praying, fasting, for those who have peace, for those who yet do not, for those who will – through the storm.

Are you prepared for the storm?  Are you prepared to help others through the storm and after the storm?

Peace, where are you?   As close as your heart.

 

Jesus said, Behold, I stand at the door, knocking

Will you open the door so you can have that peace?  I am praying for you, that you will have peace and for those with whom you will share how to have peace in the coming days.

If you want to know that peace…

Click here

 

 

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Where Does that Grin Come From? by Kathy Carlton Willis

Word Girls September Blog 1:  Kathy Carlton Willis

I’m often asked, “How can you keep grinning despite the challenges in your life? It has nothing to do with me. It has to do with the God in whom I put my trust. Knowing “He’s got this” helps me carry on (in hope) rather than to carry on (complain)!

 

Grinning instead of grimacing comes from the discipline of thinking on glorious victorious thoughts outside the current stinky situation.

First I get my imaginary lariat out and wrangle those negative thoughts that attempt to defeat me.

 

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV)

 

Once I evict those destructive thoughts, I fill the void with healthful and helpful thoughts. Thoughts that line up with the mind of Christ.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. …Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8b-9 NLT)

 

If I practice this passage in Philippians, it might look something like this. I’m going to fix my thoughts on what is:

 

  • True: I remember the extreme way God answered my prayer to provide for our family.
  • Honorable: I’m blown away by the way that writer stays humble when others try to put her on a pedestal.
  • Right: I respect the decision this politician made to choose an unpopular but godly path.
  • Pure: How precious the gift of life is when I see photos of the much prayed for Lyla.
  • Lovely: How beautiful are the wildflowers dressing up that field.
  • Admirable: I see integrity in the choice Russ made to not malign a wrongdoer.
  • Excellent: I respect how she endures through her weight-training routine.
  • Worthy of praise: God’s faithfulness is something I can count on.

 

Are you having a hard time grinning this week? What will your fix list look like?

 

About the Author:

God’s Grin Gal, Kathy Carlton Willis, shines the light on what holds you back so you can grow. She’s a popular speaker and writer’s coach. Read her book, Grin with Grace, or find more information at: http://www.kathycarltonwillis.com/.

P.S. from Delores – Kathy is one on my most-admired list.  Her grin-with-grace attitude is currently on view despite multiple serious physical challenges and as a Hurricane Harvey refugee/survivor. It’s a blessing to hang with someone who inspires me to walk the talk and activate the faith!

 

Grin with Grace available at Amazon and wherever quality books are sold!

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New Things!

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19 – ESV

I am excited!  Lots of new things are happening over here.

—I met Amy Newmark, Publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul Books!

Amy hosted dinner at a fun Italian Restaurant in Wheeling IL for 24 contributors to Chicken Soup books.

—I’ve recently been accepted as a speaker for Christian Women’s Club/Women’s Connection/After5!  

A half-dozen dates have been scheduled already in Wisconsin. I’ll also be speaking in other states.

 

—A talented writer friend is revamping my Website/Blog. As soon as I get her the rest of the prose she needs, you will see new things here!

I’m especially excited how God took care of the four part-time jobs (only one left that is a couple hours a week) and provided for new ministry opportunities. I was uncertain with stopping the other part-time jobs how I could afford the next step I felt led to take (conference and coaching). I’d been to a speakers group and a writers meeting and when I got home that night and went to retrieve my electronics out my tote bag there was a huge surprise someone left for me –funds that answered prayer and provided for the next new things:

I’m a Word Girl! I’ve been praying about this group since attending a “Getaway” – mini-conference and coaching retreat – in northern Wisconsin last fall. It was one of the most reasonably priced conferences I’d attended, with personalized coaching that helped me reach several long-time goals. Kathy Carlton Willis leads the Word Girls gatherings as well as an application-based year-long coaching/mentoring group with some super talented, friendly and encouraging ladies. I am honored to be a part of this group.

This month – each Tuesday – I’ll be featuring a devotional from one of the Word Girls! I hope you will enjoy meeting a few of my talented new friends.

Please leave a comment, and feel free to visit their blogs and websites too.

Delores

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Putting ON – Health

Despite deadlines, plans, hopes, dreams, life happens. For me it was a concussion and a knee injury, so now in addition to writing, speaking and fulfilling part-time jobs, I am on a course to regain health.

 

Today’s video-conference with a health coach, made me realize how similar this path is to the Put-on —Put-off principle in the Bible, (building Christ-like character) and my writing tagline of Activating Faith.

 

Rather than sloughing-off the external symptoms of inner decay – to “try” to break the old habit or mask its symptoms hoping to make room for the new, God’s Word directs us to the formula in James 4:7: “Submit, therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

  1. Submit to God. (Put ON)
  2. Resist the devil (Put OFF)
  3. and he will flee from you.

 

Yep, it’s humiliating to admit I need help and to submit to godly counsel, but it’s also liberating because I know how many times I’ve ‘done it myself’ and failed or reached that temporary goal and quit. The past months and resulting physical weakness have been defeating and confining. I needed help to round out the physical therapy treatments and establish sustainable new habits and strength.

 

In scripture to Put Off is not so much To take off or discard as in put off a sweater, but more so to repel or repulse; and Put ON is not merely to cover, To clothe oneself with; as to put on a coat, but To apply; activate: put on the brakes.

 

Are we (Have I been) getting it backward?

With my health as any other area of my life, the Put On – Put Off principle is for breaking the chains that bind us. I’ve been feeding emotions since January: mostly healthily, but a bit too abundantly. The chorus of a favorite song* has become my prayer:

 

I don’t want to be bound

To anyone but You, Master

I don’t want any chains on me

But the bonds of Your love

*by permission (Rob Bryceson, Timothy Jones & Steve Mills © 1994, 1990 – Little Peach Music, Inc. CCLI # : 565609 )

 

Our chains (habits, hurts, emotions, weaknesses, thoughts, desires, i.e. sins) are fierce captors that hold us – bind us – and keep us from fully experiencing the bonds of freedom in the love of Jesus Christ.

Thousands of failures who’ve “tried” on their own to – (Put OFF) – break free of their captors, line the paths to innumerable sites offering quick fixes. Generations have been passed the torches of guilt, depression, low self-esteem and even suicide. We’ve limited God to our understanding and thus limited our own access to (Put ON) His unlimited power.

When we apply the biblical principle to PUT ON – (the inner man is built up by the laws of God, and the worldly veneer (the outer man), like snakeskin, will slough off.

We are such habit-dependent enablers that many small changes can go unnoticed until we have a relapse and then realize how all things really are becoming new. Shortly after I was diagnosed celiac and had begun eliminating wheat, I ordered a salad not realizing the chicken would be battered. In a hurry, I ate it and shortly experienced the side effects of not activating the wisdom of the new diet.

Now activating in the health challenges- Putting on – new habits of

Rest/Sleep

Hydrating

Consuming for health – rather than for emotion

Activity (though currently very limited, accountability should increase the faithfulness)

Join me, would you, for the next 60 days? I’m excited to see what will happen while submitted to the guidance of God’s Word and the great coaches provided.

 

What can you PUT ON that will add physical, spiritual, or emotional health?

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DUH – Do You Not Get it?

DUH? Do You Not Know? – Sometimes reading the Bible makes me laugh out loud, the message is so clear and just what one of my sisters would say to me.

Honestly, some days, like my sisters, or a patient parent or teacher, God sighs, and asks me, do you not get it… did you not read this… were you not listening?

Quite often when I read the passage again in a different version (below is The Message) then I understand it. I see afresh what, in familiarity, I glossed over before.

A few samples:

Isaiah 40:28

 Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
or, whine, Israel, saying,
“God has lost track of me.
He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.

 

1 Corinthians 6:9

 Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.

 

2 Chronicles 32:13

Do you have any idea what I and my ancestors have done to all the countries around here? Has there been a single god anywhere strong enough to stand up against me?

 

 

Isaiah 40: 21 – Have you not been paying attention?
    Have you not been listening?
Haven’t you heard these stories all your life?
Don’t you understand the foundation of all things?

 

 

Ezekiel 17:12-

 God’s Message came to me: “Tell this house of rebels, ‘Do you get it? Do you know what this means?’

 

How very patient God is, as I stumble through the same lesson again and again. He does not whine or complain, or punish, just lovingly waits for her to ‘get it.

I imagine God’s dismay like a statue I once saw. It was a guardian angel, slapping her palm to forehead – as if in unbelief that her charge could be so dense.

 

And once again I hear the conversation:

 

Delores! I can’t believe you’d do that again…you knows better – or at least I thought you did…

 

Delores! How many times…

 

Duh!

 

Don’t you know…haven’t you heard?

 

Have you ever experienced that?

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