MY BOOK(s)

Portrait of Our Marriage
PORTRAIT OF OUR MARRIAGE
Memoirs of Love, Family, the Internet, 
and Obsession
The Story Behind The Story 
 ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

FREE EXCERPT

Halloween excerpt

     Brett, Chase, and his friends, Michael and Ryan, had spent
the beginning of that October decorating the yard for Halloween.
Every week Brett and Chase would scour the stores in search of
more eerie decorations, adding to our ever-growing accumulation
of Halloween decor. A huge part of the garage was specifically
saved for decorations for our two favorite holidays, Christmas
and Halloween. During the month of October our family nights
were spent watching horror films in order to get psyched for the
big event. Halloween day was the culmination of all our efforts.
Just looking around the yard, even in the daylight, I was in awe.
Although most of the yard was elaborately decorated already, by
nightfall this place would look totally different. It would come
alive, so to speak. There were two coffins set up with open lids
and the bodies we assembled in them. We’d made another body
that was hanging from a tree. The boys were especially proud of
that one and the way it swayed like a person had really been hung.
Black rubber rats, bats, and spiders with wispy webs were scattered
about. Skeletons, large thigh and arm bones, a rib cage, and several
skulls were strategically placed around the yard. One section of the
yard had eight differently sized pumpkins that were painstakingly
carved and would later have their cavities filled with lit candles or
with fog from a dry ice concoction. There was the Frankenstein
figure half hanging out of the Mustang’s open door, positioned
with its face peering down the driveway, and a rubberized dead
beastly-looking thing with its realistic plastic guts splattered across
the back trunk of the car. Yep, this year they had really gone all out.
One side of the house had a mummy figure and several individual
mummified hands and legs sticking up around the planters. The
boys had made a warning sign and placed it in the front yard, “This
property is haunted and taken over by zombies. Parental guidance
is mandatory for all children!” After a last check around the yard to
see what was left to be done, the boys went in the house to work on
music for the evening’s events.
     Breanne was having a great time running around the decorations
blowing bubbles, then chasing and popping them. Getting her to
take a nap on Halloween day so she’d be rested for the evening
was not an easy task. Brett and the boys were dripping fake blood
around certain decorations and spreading webbing around bushes,
trees, and other areas of the driveway. Lights and candles were all
placed to aid in the total spooky effect. Costumes and candy were
ready for the evening to come.
     The day seemed to pass quickly and the kids were hyper with
excitement. Bootsie was locked up inside for the night. He lay
peeking out the living room window, stretched across his scratching
post, none too happy about being left out of the family activities.
I heard the boys blasting their music. Luckily, we were close with
our neighbors and they relished every celebratory Halloween along
with us. Darkness would soon set in.
     Brett grabbed a couple of the bowls to take outside. “This is
going to be the best night ever!” he proclaimed.
     “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo wailed from the speakers.
Chase and two of his friends were singing loudly along with the
song as they finished prepping some of the decorations outside.
     Brett upon re-entering the kitchen almost ran into me. His
vampire makeup and costume looked very authentic and creepy.
“You and the kids look great,” I said, complimenting him and
gingerly planting a kiss on his cheek.
     “Hey knock that off, you’re going to ruin my makeup,” he said.
“You’d better hurry and get dressed too, hon.”
     Breanne was dressed in a mermaid costume. She had a plastic
bottle of bubbles and was blowing bubbles outside while she
watched her brother and his friends, particularly one of them.
Chase, who was dressed in a Men in Black Costume, began to tease
his little sister, pulling on her costume, while Michael, one of his
friends, took Brea’s seaweed boa and began swinging it around at
Ryan. Ryan grabbed the boa from Michael and horseplay ensued.
Michael was dressed as Austin Powers and was totally unaware of his
effect on Brea. It was becoming more obvious that Brea was having
her first crush as she followed Michael around with a dream-like
look on her sweetheart-shaped face. Ryan, who was supposed to be
a Cyclops, was having a difficult time keeping his single eye in his
mask. It was constantly falling out of its socket and he had to keep
putting it back in place.
     “Ryan why don’t you come with me in the house and we’ll see
if we can’t glue that in place,” I said.
     “That sounds great Mrs. Ketchum, do you think the glue will
dry fast?”
     “We have one of those super glues, it’ll hold,” I answered him
with a satisfied smile. Walking in the house I could hear the song
Weird Science playing.

. . .

     Darkness had come. I was finally dressed and the only lights
lighting our home and yard were that of some red strobes, candles,
and lit pumpkins. Outside, a foggy mist from a fog machine was
wafting through the air complementing the atmosphere of our
ghostly, creepy, and spine-chilling decor. The music “Thriller” began
to play. Chase signaled his friends, who both followed him and
lined up spread across our driveway. The boys in unison did their
imitation of the Michael Jackson Thriller dance. It was etched in
their memory from watching their much-loved idol and from lots
of practice. Adults and children from the neighborhood gathered
in the front yard enjoying the performance and decorations while I
eagerly passed out candy from the filled cauldron.
     “Hey, I’m gonna take Brea out trick or treating in a little bit.
You got everything covered here?” Brett asked.
     “Oh, I’ll be fine. Chase said he and his friends will hang
around handing out candy and scaring the kids for a while.”
Impulsively reaching up to pat his black-slickened hair down I felt
a contentedness. “I’ll be overseeing them to make sure they don’t
scare the little ones or get too wild,” I answered with a grin.
     “You do that, I don’t want any complaints from the neighbors.”
     The sight of a police car slowing down as it pulled over to the
side of the road caught Brett’s attention. The officer in the passenger
seat was Rob, one of our friends and neighbors.
     Rob rolled down the window and called out with a smile, “Hey
anyone here seen Little Red Riding Hood, some bears, and a wolf
go by yet?”
     “They came by earlier with a Batman and Robin. We took some
pictures. Nicky will get those to you guys later this week. Hey Rob,
you dressed up as a cop for fun or are you on duty?” Brett joked as
he made his way to the car.
     “Ha, ha, funny one. Duty calls and some of us do have to work
for a living.” Rob laughed and reached up to adjust his heavy blackrimmed
glasses. “Great costume, Brett. Looks like you guys have a
pretty good-sized crowd already. Someone egged and teepeed some
of the houses a couple blocks away so I thought we’d come by and
see how you all are doing. You know, keep the peace,” he sighed.
     I had seen the car and Brett head over to it so I handed the
candy container to Chase and slowly made my way past the trickor-
treaters to be next to Brett. “Hi Rob, we saw Meg and the kids
earlier. Too bad you have to work. It seems you always get stuck
working holidays.”
     “It does seem that way, but if I want Christmas off I have to
work Halloween and Thanksgiving this year.”
     “Can I get you two some coffee or anything?” I asked.
     “No thank you, but Nicky . . . Nicky, look at you.” He let out a
whistle. “Nice Elvira get up,” he said in a seductive drawl.
     I did a slow turn around to show off my outfit and wig of slinky
long black hair, then I linked my arm through Brett’s and he pulled
me close to his side.
     “You’re way too hot for this guy. What do you see in him
anyway?” Rob joshed. “Wow, Nicky, looks like you’re doubly
loaded,” Rob said provocatively, showing his trigger fingers and
raising his eyes to emphasize he was enjoying the cleavage view.
     The very low cut black Elvira dress accentuated my breasts,
which looked like two large melons practically spilling out from
the black lace push up bra I was wearing.
     “I don’t think I’ve seen this side of you before,” Rob said, then
he and his partner both shared a subtle laugh.
     Embarrassed, I tugged at the low cut dress, unsuccessfully
trying to pull it up for more coverage. Leaning more into Brett,
I replied, “And you won’t be seeing this much again.” I laughed
nervously and Brett joined in.
     “Back off guys, they’re mine, mine, mine. All mine,” Brett said
as he boldly placed both hands firmly on my breasts sending pulsing
excitement, thrills, shock, and humiliation coursing through my
veins all at once.
     “Brett, what the . . .” I recoiled sharply.
     A static call came in on the car radio. “Yikes, hate to miss this
show but got to go, duty calls. You guys have fun,” Rob said as he
rolled up the window and the officers drove off down the street.
     Brett drew me back into his arms. “Without further
interruption.” He slowly began planting light kisses on my neck.
Then quickly he lightly grasped my shoulder and led me to the dark
side of the house. The sounds of all the people and the awareness
of where we were faded into a void. “I vant to drink your blood,
ah ha, ha, ha. Von little bite, von’t hurt at all, ah ha, ha.” Brett
said playfully in his best Bela Lugosi imitation, swinging his large
flowing black cape around the two us. The silk covered and cloaked
us in darkness. I heard myself giggle and a gasp escaped my lips.
Sucking ever so lightly, he teased my neck with his flickering tongue
while simultaneously using his fingers and thumbs to bring both
already hardened buds into a nipple orgasm. How can this be? Me,
wanton and wanting more in a public place. Forbidden popped
in my mind; the forbidden fruits. I should be ashamed. A battle
brewed inside me but I was caught up in the heat of the moment.
I knew how I was raised but could not fight the raging passion
that shot through me. As his erotic assault deepened, I leaned back
against the wall where I stepped on one of the decorative bodies; it
startled me and as I righted myself I shrieked. My cry was muffled
by the sounds of “Monster Mash.” The sensual moment shattered,
I pushed Brett’s hands away and hurriedly adjusted my breasts.
     “Stop Brett, no more,” I whispered as I was brought back to
being a proper parent, remembering where we were and all the
people around us. I escaped from under the cloak and faced
Brett who wore a pouty expression. Uncloaked, I looked around.
Thankfully no one had been paying any attention to us with all the
activity on the other side of the house. Chase and his friends were
still busy entertaining the kids.
     “Mmm, but you do taste vondervul,” Brett said, and in his
vampire mode brought his cloak-covered arm up, covering his
mouth. Then he blessed me by flashing that charming killer grin of
his and, even with all the makeup he was wearing, again I melted.
     “You are zo vonderfully exciting and be u ti ful, ve could make
our own vonderfullly vicked movie.” He laughed his vampire laugh
and thought a moment. Then said, “We should do zat.”
     I laughed too for a moment, but then worried. Just as I was
about to make sure he was joking, Breanne ran from across the yard
breathless and hyped, “Dad, I thought you were going to take me
trick a’ treating?” she asked with a sense of urgency.
     “Oops, you are zo right. I, Count Dracula, am at your service
young lady,” he bowed. “Zo get your goody bag and ve vill be off.
Counting vone, two, three.” He laughed as he watched her run to
get her bag then turned his attention back to me. “Look, look vhat
you do to me,” he said, briefly opening the cloak, displaying dark
pants stretched tightly over a very prominent hard on.
     “I vill be back,” he said, bringing the cloak back in to cover his
lower extremities. He raised and lowered his eyebrows repeatedly,
wiggled his tongue, and in his vampire style voice said, “I vill be
back, ah ha ha ha ha.”
     Brett edged closer and began kissing my hand, continuing up
my arm, and ending at my neck, “You know you drive me batty,”
he said in a faint but serious tone. Then he pulled out a rubber
bat from under his cape briefly startling me. “Mmmm, ah ha, ha,”
he laughed, continuing his vampire act, interacting with others,
dancing, and playing with his cape. Even after all our years together
I was captivated, sucked into his humor and world.
     Delighted with another one of his characterizations, I said,
“You sir are no count, you silly nut.”
     “Oh but I am ze count vhere oh vhere is my countess?” he
asked, looking around.
     Breanne came running down the driveway and was now
tugging at her dad’s pant leg. “I’ll be your countess, Daddy, but
I’ve got to be a mermaid countess. Okay? Is that okay?”
     “Zat is perfecto. I alvays vanted a mermaid countess,” he
answered, totally enjoying his role.
     “Let’s go. I wanta go Daddy.”
     “Ve’re going little vone.” Brett replied as he squatted down to
her level and began tickling her sides.
     “Stop it, Daddy,” Brea said, laughing but not pushing him
away. “No more, Daddy. We need to trick a’ treat or all the candy’s
gonna be gone, Daddy,” she said with a hint of sad worry on her
face.
     “You’re right, hon, this is serious business. Let us go,” he said
standing up straight. “Ve go now to get ze candy,” he declared
loudly, gently taking his daughter’s hand in his.
     Aware of how much he loved his little girl, I smiled. “Go, be off
with you two. Have fun. Ahem,” I said, clearing my throat as I tried
to get in character. “Go, have ze fun and get ze candy.” I giggled at
my pathetic attempt to capture the vampire accent and reminded
her, “And Brea stay with your dad. No taking off.”
     “Bye mommy,” Brea yelled back to me as the two left in their
pursuit of candy.



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♥.•*REVIEWS*•.♥ 

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~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
WHY WRITE THIS STORY
Years ago I was watching an episode of The Oprah Show. The episode was about porn addiction. Oprah was interviewing men who were discussing their addiction to pornography. I remember thinking that they looked like normal decent men and just by looking at them I would have never thought that they would have this addiction. My day had continued with nary a thought of the episode but later that evening when I slept I had a dream,.
It was one dream followed by many others. The dreams unfolded as if I were watching a movie, each one vivid with color, as they shared events from a woman’s life. At one point in the dream I could see a woman watching her life through a series of pictures as she viewed them on a digital display device. Each dream took me through different stages of her marriage. After a while I could see a connection that the dreams were revealing. The woman’s husband had always enjoyed looking at men’s magazines, especially the ones with naked ladies. But over time with the easy access provided by the internet his fancy was escalating into an obsession with pornography. As his obsession grew so did subtle to shocking changes in their relationship. 

Sometime after watching the episode on TV, I viewed another episode on The Oprah Show and this time, Joel Osteen was her guest. After watching this motivational episode, I felt that I was having the dreams for a reason. I have written songs, poetry, and short stories, for many years, that I have shared with friends. But after seeing both of these episodes and experiencing the dreams, I began to feel that there must be a reason, and I knew I needed to tell the story.

Back then, my youngest son was an actor and I had been reading screenplays for years. My first attempt at telling the story was by trying to write it as a script. Much easier said than done. I could not seem to get the emotion I wanted in the script and I didn’t have enough real information about pornography addiction and how it not only affects men but women involved with those men.

So for a while I put my writing on hold and began my research. I read everything I could find on porn addiction. From religious organizations, marriage counselors, psychologists, plus sites where men and women shared their own experiences. I read both the pros and cons of what people had to say. 

But even after all my research was done I was still missing what I felt was the personal aspect. Where could I find the emotion behind this addiction and how it affects a couple? Back then there was a lot of information online for, from, and by, men but very little information about how pornography addiction affected the wife and marital relations. I did not have money to pay for a study and at that time I did not know anyone dealing with this issue. I was stuck and for a while my story was dead in the water. Then one day while shopping I noticed several carpet cleaning and blind cleaning business cards on a few shelves several were also on the floor in the cleaning aisle, plus there were some landscaping business cards over in the garden shop. This sparked an idea in my head and I hoped my prayers had been answered. Maybe just maybe I could try this as a way to find information. I know now this was crazy and could have been risky putting my information out there; especially while asking for input about pornography but I was desperate and not thinking things all the way through. Anyway, I went home and typed up a bunch of notes asking women if they had any experience dealing with someone addicted to pornography. I explained I was writing a fictional book about this subject matter and would like some truthful in depth information so my story would be as truthful and real as I could make it. I then added my mailing address and phone number on the notes. I set the notes out in several different big name stores, leaving them on top of personal items that ladies use, also by women’s clothing, and in some women’s restrooms. Weeks went by before I heard anything and then I began getting the mail. I was surprised. Honestly after setting the notes out I had second thoughts about what I had done and believed I would not hear from anyone. I ended up receiving about 17 letters. Most had very little information. But 8 were very detailed and gave me the insight I was looking for, a few were like diary entries, and totally pulled me into their world. I believe by the tone and shared history that most of these were submitted by middle aged to older women but possibly 2 were from young ladies. Regardless of the age their stories were real and touched me.

My next step was to join a writing group and get feedback from beta readers. Being a first time “book” writer this both helped and conflicted me. Sometimes opinions differed greatly and were all over the place. Who to listen to?

I now know, as a writer, you should ultimately listen to your voice or you can lose your story.
Originally when I was writing the story the sex scenes were not in great detail and were mild, but almost everyone felt if I did not give details, the readers would automatically assume that the reason the husband was addicted to pornography was because the wife was frigid. And even then after I added the sex scenes many felt that a few of them still needed to be expanded in such a way as to seem overboard. After reading the story they felt that because Nicky, the wife, had come from a very strict upbringing she would stretch her limits and go a bit wild. Trying to find herself and get away from her past, they believed she would do anything to impress and keep the man she loved. And so I went about making changes. 

I also had the first sex scene later in the book but my editor said that that wouldn’t work today, that people did not want to wait so long for sex in a story and it needed to be closer the beginning. More changes.

In many ways when I look back I have learned a lot. A lot of responsibility is put on the writer who self-publishes. Working with beta readers, writing groups, and an editor you hire, requires you to listen and use judgments on what changes or suggestions to listen to, what to change, and what to stick with. 

Writing sometimes is an act of possession. You, the author, are into the story and that’s when the magic happens, when the characters take over and have their own minds. Their voice, their responses and attitudes, uncontrollably speak out from your fingertips onto the keyboard. In those moments you are not analyzing if people will like what your wrote or if people will hate what you’ve written. 
YOU write.

Then there’s the ending. 
Some writers come to it easily, the story writes itself. 
Some writers always find the happily ever after, while some go for shock or grab you with that surprise twist. 
In my story I stayed with the ending I originally had but it is not the ending the majority of my betas or writing group wanted. 
There was the group that wanted the romantic happily ever after ending, because most felt that is what would sell the best.
And then there was the few who agreed with my ending.

Why did I stay with my ending? Truthfully, I wanted what the majority wanted but I felt I had to stay true to the story in order to honor the women who took the time out of their lives to share some very personal and intimate information with me. They trusted me, someone they didn’t know, someone who was not published, someone who did not know first hand what goes on behind closed doors in this world of internet sexual addiction. And that is the reason I stood by the ending I have.

I have learned when you put your book out there, you will find supporters and those who hate your work. You will get some people who liked your writing, got something out of it, and then you might have those who will verbally attack and harass you. I was shocked to learn some haters make a job out of going after you. Ignore them. You can’t please everyone.

As a writer you choose your path and you create the life your characters live in.
Not everyone will like what you write and that’s okay. Think about it, do you like everything everyone else writes? Do you like all foods? No. 

We each have different tastes and sometimes throughout our lives our tastes change and the stories we look for may change as our needs do.

As far as the indie self-publishing world goes, there are a lot of wonderful and gifted people out there. Most are willing to help and inspire. I’ve learned so much and am still learning.
I am sharing my journey about my first book because I feel everyone who wants to write should do it. If it’s your dream and a story is screaming to get out, go for it, give it a try, and don’t let others talk you into giving up.


"Write about what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open."
                Natalie Goldberg
  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Thoughts:
More and more women are identifying with the problem of pornography addiction when their spouse or BF personality undergoes major changes. They wonder what they can do. All to often in the beginning, the woman places the blame on herself and thinks of ways she might change. She wonders if she's too old, too fat, ugly, or not creative enough in the bedroom. Stressing over all of these issues in the majority of cases, will not change anything and they are not the issue when the partner is suffering from this addiction or being obsessed with pornography. 

It is the individuals problem. They may not even know why or how they became so dependent on it. But once it is out of control, it will start to damage relationships in most cases. I often post varied sites regarding porn addiction to share what is going on in the world around us and what is almost always hidden, on my book Facebook page. I do not endorse any links shared, one way or the other. I am not a doctor or a therapist. I share information I have read and researched through many online sites regarding these issues.

No matter what your beliefs, it is best to stay informed and be aware of what can happen. We know that many addictions begin with overuse. 

Addiction means they will need help to stop. 

Addicts will say they don't need to stop that they don't have a problem. 

Is your spouse or BF up late at night on the computer or laptop?

 Do they suddenly change pages or close their laptop when they see you coming their way?

 Do they have a password for their laptop, computer, and phone, that they keep secret from you?

 Is their 'History' always cleared?

 Are there any unexplained strange bills on the credit cards or paypal?

 Has there been a change how and when you have sex? Does he get frustrated or want to try totally out of the norm acts for him? Did he want more and then suddenly a lot less sex? Is he suffering from dysfunction? Are there any sexual deviance changes in his desires? Does he suddenly want you to dress, do your hair, or makeup differently?

 Is he looking more at trashy or slutty dressed women?

 Does he suffer from extreme mood swings and become short tempered or angry with you?
There could always be a medical reason for any of these changes and it is best to recommend that he be checked by a doctor.

If you answer 'yes' to most of these questions. You should have a heart to heart talk.



Visit my book Facebook page http://tinyurl.com/bfy82wo







~  •  ~ •  ~ •  ~

Favorite Color: Ah, I like them all. It depends on my mood, but my favs are: red, yellow, pink, blue, and purple.

Favorite Animal: Cats! I love them along with dogs and birds :) the ones below are a some of the ones I have now. I have been blessed that most of my pets live into their mid 20's.


 
Favorite Number: 5 or 7!

Favorite Non-alcoholic Drink: Iced black or hibiscus tea.

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook is more personal but Twitter is less hostile. 

Your Passions: No Kill Shelters & pet rescues, Just Label It! (No GMOs), and supporting our military men & women and their families.

Giving or getting presents: Giving, it's much more fun. I love it when it's a surprise gift for no reason, those are the best to give.

Favorite Day: Monday, I know ahhh!!!! The 'ugh day'. But it is the beginning of the week and full of possibilities.

Favorite Flowers: Gardenias & roses!

~~~~~~~~~~
PORTRAIT OF OUR MARRIAGE

Memoirs of Love, Family, the Internet, and Obsession




19 comments:

  1. Can't wait to check this out!
    I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! - J. Lenni Dorner Congrats on the book.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!
    Stop by and see my blog... http://waynelmurphy.blogspot.com/
    Have a great Monday!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to Connect!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! I hope you stop by to visit me at http://www.scheherazade-thewritinglife.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nice blog! I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe. Great to connect!
    - Jan Moran at JanMoran dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great blog and what a fun way to introduce our blogging friends to the world!

    Thank you, this is quite an honor.
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Martha,
    I am enjoying your blog, so I nominated you for the Leibster Award! I was just nominated, and it is a fun way for people to get to know you and your blog. Feel free to check out my blog to see how it works, and of course, you don't have to participate if you don't want to :)
    Best wishes to you,
    James A. West
    http://jamesawest.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi James, Sorry it took me so long to get back to you on this. Is their a time limit? Has this invitation already expired? If not and it's still a go I will get on this over the weekend!

      Delete
  10. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! I look forward to reading your posts!

    You can find me here: http://loren-mathis.com/blog-3/. Thanks!

    Loren Mathis

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Followed you back. Sorry it took me so long I was dealing with family issues and illness :)

      Delete
  11. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi, I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

    Here's mine, http://flirtyandfeistyromance.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  14. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!
    Come by and visit my blog: http://www.lindastrawn.com
    ~Linda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TY, I followed your awesome blog back! have a great week :)

      Delete