April 29, 2011

The One with $20.25

It's official!! Garage Sale Season in underway! I suppose you could say--"Melanie is to garage sales as hunters are to deer season." In other words, it's a BIG deal and if you're not a garage sale fan, you think I'm crazy. I'm totally ok with that. 

It was only 48 degrees this morning, but the rain had stopped. I double checked the sale listings I had found in the local newspaper's online classifieds as well as the garage sale section of Craigslist. I then printed off the list of items I was looking for in this season of thrifting. (I've discovered having a "plan" is a very good thing.) Finally, I donned a coat--yes a COAT--for the occasion and hit the road. 

At the first sale, I came away with two beautiful satin blouses and a sweater for $1.50. They all fit me perfectly--I'm thrilled. I was a teensy bit quite frustrated, though, when Kevin noticed a huge water-looking stain on the front of the green satin. Ack! I have it pretreated right now! 


The woman hosting the second sale was a piece of work. She was a talk, talk, talker and quite pushy--not my favorite type of yard sale host, I've got to be honest. Despite that, I found a hardly-worn pair of size 10 Chuck Taylor Converse high tops for Kevin. I offered the lady $1.00 and she took it! (They sell for $65.00!!) Kevin's already wearing them. :)


At the last sale, I saw quite a few great finds--but most of them weren't on my list. *kept my arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times* I came across a sewing machine--which IS on my list--but one crucial piece of it was missing. Not so much...

I DID find a few great items before leaving, though. We now have a beautiful cloth shower curtain. It's in perfect shape and Kevin likes it as well. I was just thinking last night that this brown-brown-brown theme was getting boring. We needed to mix it up a bit. The new curtain goes well with the brown and green we already have. For $2.00 it's a perfect bathroom makeover!  


Finally, I came across the hardcover copies of most of the Harry Potter Series! Books 2 and 4 are missing and book 3 doesn't have a jacket, but I got five of them for $15 which is totally worth it for Kevin and I. I normally don't spend more than $0.50 on a book, but seeing how this exact set was on our wish list and would have cost close to $100, we took it! 


Are you hitting the garage sale path any time soon?? Good finds yet?

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April 28, 2011

The One with the Sweet Dreams

I finishing reading Mine Is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs during our family camping trip in Kentucky. I'm not one to say, "I just can't put this book down!" but I could whole-heartedly say that about this novel. I turned page after page on the 8 hour trip south and only dozed off twice--a record for me! The story was so gripping, though even my cat naps were filled with dreams of the characters' stories. I was thoroughly engrossed in their drama. 

Despite the fact that this novel was the second in the series (following Here Burns a Candle), I didn't have any problem following the story. Higgs writes beautifully and thoroughly, leaving no reader behind. 

This is a story of redemption, of faith, of salvation, of family. Elizabeth Kerr and her mother-in-law, Marjory, are forced to leave their affluent lifestyle after being widowed by their politically rebellious husbands. Trials await them around every corner, but in the end Christ redeems them and brings overwhelming blessing into their lives.  

I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this historical fiction entitled Mine Is the Night very soon! You'll love it, I promise! 

Mine Is the Night: A Novel


April 27, 2011

The One with Your Study Tips

I need your help. I am planning on starting a women's small group for a few ladies in our church, and I'd love to find an awesome curriculum to use. My mom has done many Beth Moore studies in the past and always raves about them, so if you have a particular Moore book to recommend, please share! 

The group will likely consist of a perfect mix of 20somethings and 30 or 40somethings. Some of the members have a good grasp of Scripture, but others are hungry to learn as they have just recently turned their lives over to Christ's Lordship. I'm so excited to be a part of helping and teaching them what I've learned and experienced about God, and I look forward to learning from their wisdom and maturity in life. 

Please share your recommendations for Bible studies. 
Any tips would be welcomed--especially those geared towards women and new believers. 

Thanks, friends!


April 26, 2011

The One with the Country Song

One of my friends excitedly shared this link with me on Facebook, and I was so impressed I wanted to make sure everyone saw it!

Carrie Underwood gave a tremendously moving performance of "How Great Thou Art" during a CBS special [Girls Night Out: Superstars of Country]. Before thousands and thousands of her peers and fans, Carrie proclaimed the glory of our God. In the midst of a world that seems darker and darker every day, tears filled the eyes of almost every listener as the Spirit moved in their hearts. May many come to face their need for salvation because of this testimony.

Amen and amen.

April 25, 2011

The One with the Weekend of Worship

What a fantastic weekend we had! It all began Thursday afternoon. We donned our spring jackets and headed to the soccer field to cheer on two of our teens in their JV game. 



We raced home, headed to the church for worship practice and then the stick-drama rehearsal, and then BACK home. Ashley--one of the soccer players, coincidentally--was spending the night with us, just for fun. I made homemade meatballs and spaghetti for dinner and the three of us had a blast watching Disney's Tarzan. 


The next morning went by quickly. Ashley was able to sleep in late as it was a day off of school, and Kevin and I headed to church once again for the Good Friday community service. Our church was hosting, we were on the worship team, and I was singing Via Dolorosa--a Sandy Patti Classic. 

We had a number of technical difficulties throughout the service, but despite the issues, the sanctuary was packed and God moved in people's hearts in powerful ways. It was a privilege to be a part of it. 

Around 6:45pm my mom and dad pulled in the driveway after their three hour journey! I was so thrilled they could get away. My grandmother has been living with them full time for the past couple weeks as she recuperates from a strenuous bought with the flu and mild stroke. Both of my parents needed a bit of a vacation from full time responsibilities, and we really wanted them to spend some time at our home. Though a number of problems threatened to keep them home, God made a way for them to get away. 

We had a delicious dinner and great conversation Friday night. In the morning on Saturday, Kevin & I helped filled 750 Easter eggs for the church egg hunt and mom joined us for the last half hour. Dad got in his first round of golf of this season on Saturday afternoon while Mom & I did some serious shopping.  That evening was once again filled with good talks and the premiere of LOST. 

Yep, we got Mom and Dad hooked on season one of LOST. Mom kept saying, "Can we watch one more?" I was really excited that they both enjoyed one of our favorite shows! 

IMG_6734 (2)

Easter Sunday was fast-paced and overflowing with God's goodness. A hundred+ people showed up for the annual Easter breakfast, 4 of our teens did a fantastic job during a stick drama to Arise, My Love, worship was "awesome" (in the words of my dad), and Pastor Dale preached a powerful sermon. 


My crockpots made our Easter dinner a cinch--ham, red potatoes, steamed green beans, fresh honey yeast rolls, and pecan pie equaled "YUM." We all relaxed during the afternoon and had a great time playing/learning Euchre together in the evening. Mom and I tied for "terrible card players" but we kept things interesting. All four of us were cracking up on multiple occasions, and it was the first time I've played a game of Euchre without crying


Praise Jesus for a wonderful weekend of worship in many ways. 


April 22, 2011

The One with Open Wounds

I'm not gonna lie. This hasn't been a shining week in our household. Shocker, we're not perfect. Honestly, though, most of the issues have been rooted in my deep-down struggles--struggles I didn't even know I was having. And when one person is dealing with personal trials, problems overflow onto your spouse. Am I right? 

I was kicking and screaming the whole way to this place of openness and vulnerability, the place where wounds are exposed. It's a painful place to be. But healing comes when you allow Jesus take you into his arms and place salve on those raw places that cause so much grief.

It is here I've come to recognize the truth--I've not been myself, the one God created me to be. I'm not sure how it started or exactly when. But it managed to get me to this point of total frustration. And I will deny it no longer. 

Lead me to the cross where your love poured out. Bring me to my knees, Lord, I lay me down. Rid me of myself, I belong to you. Lord, lead me. The words of the song I spoke of on Monday have been resonating deep in my spirit. Did I really mean those words when I sang them Sunday night? Did I honestly want Jesus to lead me to the place of utter helplessness where forgiveness could rain down on my heart? Did I want to get rid of the ME in my life? really? 

Finally I said, "Come, Lord Jesus." 

And He hastened to my side. He scooped me up in his arms and urged me to cry my tears in his presence so the healing could begin

I encourage you to do the same today, as we remember the reason for His sacrifice. 


April 18, 2011

The One to the Cross

[originally posted on wechasetheson.blogspot.com]

Without Easter our faith would mean nothing. What hope do we have with the resurrection of Jesus Christ? 

This week my heart has been dwelling on the Cross. Many years the Easter holiday seems to come and go as just another excuse to eat Reese's eggs and Jolly Rancher jellybeans and wear pretty dresses. Those things are nice. But they totally miss the point. 

Last Sunday night at youth group as Kevin was announcing the church's Easter events coming up, the teens kept excitedly referencing candy and the Easter bunny. Between my heart's focus on the Cross and not-so-great-attitude I had that night, I got really upset at these antics really fast. I wasn't mad at the teens specifically, but at the grotesque misunderstanding society has of Easter. 

Yesterday, God moved in my heart to lead these students to the Cross, to their knees, to their Savior. With his prodding I gathered music for three songs whose words envelope the richness of the death and resurrection of Jesus. They needed to come face to face with the reality of the situation--to know the immense pain Jesus endured even after beseeching God to remove the cup from him. But he was obedient to the Father's will, even to the point of death. His blood poured out for you, for me. Because without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. And so He covered us in perfect redemption. 

But without the third day, we have no hope, no future, no full life. Our God not only redeemed us through the crucifixion, but He didn't let death defeat his Son. 

Lead me to the cross, where your love poured out
Bring me to my knees, Lord, I lay me down. 
Rid me of myself, I belong to you. 
Lord, lead me. Lead me to the cross. 

[lead me to the cross by hillsong]
Listen here. Soak in the power of the Cross.

April 17, 2011

The One with My Key Habits

My mom commented on my salsa-losing-story. She seems delighted that I've joined the ranks of forgetfulness and sends her condolences that I'm becoming more like her everyday. :) It made me smile and reminded me of yet another "moment" of mine. 

On Friday morning, I was busy baking a batch of pizzelles to fill my first Etsy order (yay!) when the phone rang. One of the church trustees was calling about a key to the church office. He thought we had one. We did. Until about a month ago. 

Kevin and I had church cleaning duty and when we went to grab our church key off of the key rack (which ONLY contains this one key ring), the keys were gone! "Not again," I said. You see, I have a habit of leaving the church key in a pocket of my coat or pants rather than returning it to the hook. I'm a terrible person, I know. 

This time, though, I was certain it wasn't my fault. It couldn't be. I remembered being very diligent with my previous month's usage of the key. I was blaming this time on Kevin. 

We searched everywhere. In the church pew we always sit in. In the various classrooms we'd been in. In my coats and pants. In the not-so-junky "junk" drawer. In all my purses (I have quite a collection.) The key had mysteriously vanished!

Thus, when the gentleman called asking for our office key I had to tell him, "No we do not have a key because I misplaced it a while back." 

No more than 5 minutes later, as I was plotting my repeat search for the missing key, I heard a jingle in my blazer pocket. I stuck my hand inside and pulled out THE MISSING KEY! 


He quickly ran the key over to the guys working on the church and they all had a chuckle at my expense. This morning at church one of the men said, "I hear I shouldn't give you my keys." Yeah, yeah. I totally deserved it. I'm really bad at not losing the church keys.

(Please note: I have never lost any key other than the church's. And my excuse is this: because I just walk to the church and back and stick the key in a random pocket rather than back in my purse like my other keys. I have a good key reputation otherwise.) 


April 14, 2011

The One with the Missing Salsa

I thought I was going crazy. It was Tuesday night, and Kevin had left for his final class of Free Methodist History and Polity. (woot.) I chopped up some veggies, shredded some cheese, heated up some black beans, and created a lovely dinner plate for myself. 

Gathering my quesadilla and tortilla chips, I realized I needed some salsa to go alongside. I grabbed the jar of homemade salsa from the fridge, poured some into a perfectly-sized custard cup, and headed out to the living room. I enjoyed an episode of LOST: season 3 while I was eating (I may or may not have started my marathon all over again--a year later. Still so good.) 

After finishing my tasty meal, I took my dishes out to the kitchen and filled the dishwasher. I put the remaining vegetables back in the refrigerator. And then I noticed it--the lid to the salsa jar was sitting all alone on the counter. Hmm. I looked around at every counter in the kitchen and didn't see the still-half-full-jar-of-salsa-with-no-lid anywhere. I looked in the living room. Nothing. I looked in the fridge, thinking I might have put it back sans lid. Nope. I even checked the trash can, crossing my fingers that I hadn't thrown that much good salsa away. I hadn't. 

"What in the world?!" I said I out loud. I was certain I was going crazy. After all, I was the only one home, the only one to blame. I had used this salsa just an hour before and remembered the exact spot where I poured it into my dish. So where did the salsa jar go??

I gave up looking, hoping it would turn up sometime later. 

A few hours went by and I decided it was time for lime and raspberry sherbet. Yum. I headed to the cupboard to procure yet another custard cup (those darn things are so handy) for my sherbet, and there--right before my eyes--stood that sneaky jar of salsa. In the cupboard, all alone. Apparently, I had swapped it out for the salsa custard cup and been totally unaware of my actions. 

*whew* Glad to know there wasn't someone in my house messing with my mind. It was just me, going crazy. 

Anything like that ever happen to you?


April 12, 2011

The One with the Food Features

You may remember when I officially opened my Adorkable Bakery on Etsy?  It's only been a few weeks, but so far I haven't had any sales. But what I have had is lots a wonderful support, exposure and features of my delicious cookies and candies. I know that first sale is coming! :) 

While we were in Kentucky camping, we made a few trips into "town" to nab the local wifi. (The entire town is connected--an impressive feat for this little whole-in-the-wall.) I received a really exciting email from Creations by Collette that she had done a featured post of MY little bakery shop on her blog! How cool is that?! Naturally, I clicked over to her blog only to discover my shop wasn't one of many she was sharing with readers--I was THE ONLY Etsy shop listed. She loves my Adorkable Bakery that much. I was totally honored. 

This morning I received a message from a fellow Etsy seller, The Perfect Flaw, that my Italian Pizzelles had been selected to be featured in her treasury display. She entitled her treasury--"Go ahead, take a Roman Holiday" and listed beautiful Italian products including my cookies. *blush* 

THEN, just a moment ago, I received another email from an Etsy seller named Arctida. She had just posted a treasury of undiscovered shops and chose to list my Chocolate Covered Butter Toffee (Sara's favorite!) amongst other lovely finds. I was crazy excited. 

The cookies and candy I have for sale really are delicious. They are well-made, baked with love, and perfect for celebrating the exciting or cherishing the everyday. 

Why don't you visit? [adorkablebaker.etsy.com] And if you know someone who would like cookies for their next event or as a gift, I'd love for you to connect them to my shop

April 11, 2011

The One with the Library Lovers

My husband and I are well aware of the fact we are dorks. And you know what, we totally embrace that. We love reading, learning, sitting in peace and quiet. Sunday afternoon we proved our dork status once again. 

The local library we frequent closed down last Spring for building renovations. We were still able to get our book fix and our free dvd rentals at the nearby pick up/drop off location, but we were missing the experience of browsing books, finding a quiet corner to read, exploring the fairly decent movie collection. 

During the months that the library functioned out of a one-room office, we got to know a couple of the librarians really well. Two of the ladies became really lovely friends of ours. They loved seeing us walk in. They greeted us by name, asked about our lives (and really seemed to care), laughed with us, and would oftentimes be halfway through checking out our holds before we even walked in the front door. It was totally awesome. 

One afternoon visit was particularly impressive. As we rounded the corner of the office door, we heard them mention our last name. They were talking about us not knowing we were walking in the door! Luckily it wasn't anything negative. :) They were planning on who they wanted to send invitations to for the Grand Re-Opening of the library and we made their list. So sweet!

Sunday afternoon was the big day. We hopped in the car, loaded up my lap with books (2 of mine, 7 of Kevin's) and headed to our favorite place. Our two wonderful librarian friends were (not even kidding) thrilled to see us! One of them ran over to us from her station saying, "You guys made it! Oh, I'm SO happy!" And she proceeded to give me a hug. It was awesome. 

We spent the next few minutes "oooooh-ing" and "ahhhhhh-ing" over the classiness of the remodel and being impressed with the new system. Kevin checked out 4 more books that were on hold for him, I enjoyed two little cups of those butter-pillow-mint-things and we bid fair well. Don't worry, friends, we'll be back again soon!  

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April 9, 2011

The One with Harry Potter

I'm a late bloomer. At least where fads are concerned. :) Harry Potter books first took my peers by storm in 8th or 9th grade. For the past eleven years, I have firmly opposed even the idea of of reading these widely popular books. 

I think most of my hesitancy lied in the subject matter. I want to take every thought captive, to avoid any circumstances that detract from or dishonor my great God. I still hold firmly to that conviction. My attitude towards these books have changed, however. I started reading book one on Wednesday and finished book two on Friday. Yeah, they're THAT good. 

I love that they're easy reads. If I'm reading for enjoyment, I'm not looking for a challenge. JK Rowling writes with a fairly simple vocabulary, yet includes excitement, real life emotion and lots of laugh-out-loud character remarks to keep the reader totally engaged. The stories are fun yet totally fictional. It doesn't feel like Rowling is trying to force this reality on me as I read, but rather take me along to this imaginary world of Harry Potter. 

Why are they ok to read after dealing with my convictions? I feel like this topic of reading material is only appropriate if the reader is a mature, firm in their faith, reading only for enjoyment. Young readers should be closely monitored if they're allowed to read these fiction novels in order to carefully monitor their understanding of reality. If an individual (specifically a teen or adult) has a solid filter of faith in place that can sort through incoming fact and fiction, evil and good, I believe the parents and other educators have done their job. We can't govern what others watch or read forever. We can only teach them how to filter through the reading of God's Word. 

All of that said, I will honestly say, I'm loving the Harry Potter series and look forward to owning the hard covers soon. :) 

What about you? Are you a Potter fan or would you rather steer clear?


April 6, 2011

The One with the Thunder

journal entry
Monday, April 4th, 2011
Land Between the Lakes--Hillman Ferry Campground

It's raining. Hard. The winds have been whipping since 3am, thunder has been rumbling and occasionally clapping louder than I'm used to, and the rains have come down in sheets loud enough to drown out conversation. It's to be expected, though. I mean, seriously. You can't go camping without at least one memorable event. Storms like this are what put trips on the map of my mind for years to come.

It wouldn't be so big of a deal if it weren't for the tent situation. We bought a new tent at a garage sale last year. We inspected it as it was set up before our purchase, but we hadn't touched it since. Luckily it's fairly simple to assemble and our marriage survived quite happily. (I was impressed, honestly. Tent-erecting is not typically the most peaceful of marital interactions.)

The problems began as soon as we saw our site. Kevin's parents set up their camper lickity split as we are on a wonderful asphalt pad. It's a fabulous camping area, actually. Wooded, nice facilities, fairly quiet. But we got the last available site which happened to be a handicapped site. This wouldn't be a problem except for a few unforeseen issues.

  1. You must set up your tent within the confines of the railroad-tie-borders. This means our tent wouldn't be on a flexible surface like grass or gravel, but on asphalt. And we have no air mattress. This also means we had nowhere to hammer in the stakes that are essential to tent setup.
  2. There is a lovely cement path through our site and to the bathhouse—just 10 feet away—perfect access for wheelchairs and the like. It's really nice, actually. The problem arises when fellow campers—kids, teens, and adults alike—travel THROUGH our site to get the bathhouse. It's super annoying. We have each taken turn devising ways of inhibiting traffic. None of them seem to work permanently.
  3. The bright fluorescent lights that line the walkway around the shower/bathhouse which is conveniently located 10 feet away stay on ALL NIGHT LONG. There is no diminishing the brightness after the 11pm quiet hours or even in the middle of the night. At first I thought it was cool we didn't need a lantern inside our tent. But it's NOT cool when we're trying to sleep in broad “daylight.” I cannot sleep if there is so much as a phone charger light on in the room, let alone 20 bulbs blaring in my eyes. Luckily I had an eye mask with me, so I've done alright. I can't say the same for everyone else.
So despite the fact that our tent is being held up by propane tanks and random heavy objects in 4 corners, the roof is leaking water onto our bed, we woke up every hour last night to the wind threatening to collapse our ghetto tent, and the 20 minute siren blaring sending people to cram into bath houses, it's been a really great trip.

And no, that was not sarcasm.  :)

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April 5, 2011

The One with the 10 in KY

Top Ten Reasons I Am Thankful for Camping on this Beautiful KY Day
  1. Wearing 2 long sleeve shirts on, a fleece, and a sweatshirt-vest. I'm gloriously comfortable. 
  2. Falling asleep reading thanks to the warm sun beating on my face. 
  3. Eating Raspberry Blueberry Pancakes. They are delish. 
  4. Finishing a book and starting a new one. 
  5. Being nowhere near wifi means forcing myself to disconnect. A good thing now and again. 
  6. Having one of our teens is faithfully taking care of our cats. 
  7. Roasting marshmallows and eating said marshmallows is one of my favorite pasttimes. 
  8. Going for walks in the crisp air. 
  9. Enjoying the picturesque views--the lush grass, the budding trees, the lapping waters. 
  10. Having a wonderful excuse to snuggle up next to my husband at night--because it's cold and half of our bed is still damp from the rain. 
linked up with OhAmanda's! Top Ten Tuesday!

April 4, 2011

The One with the Hidden Treasures

In preparation for our week of camping and relaxation and family bonding, Kevin's parents purchased a geocaching GPS and borrowed a few extras from camp for each of us to use. If you've never been geocaching, you should totally look into it. It's fun, it's free (after the initial purchase), it gives you a great activity to do as a family that requires little to no planning, and it can be leisurely or competitive.


We headed out Sunday afternoon, in search a few nearby caches. The second one we came to said it was a mile and a half down a two-track road. We all decided to give it a go, despite the surprisingly scorching temperatures. For the next hour we successfully avoided miles of 12-inch-deep puddles in search of the prize. It was a great excuse for exercise and good conversation.


We found the hidden item almost immediately upon arrival (well, the boys did anyway), and before heading back we realized we hadn't seen the “breathtaking view” the cache's creator has described. Hmm. Suddenly it occurred to us—there must have been another way back here.

Making the long hike back, we were parched, sun burnt, and quite sweaty, but determined to find the other entrance. Within a few minutes of driving in the opposite direction, we discovered a beautiful view of the lake, just a short walk from the cache. Awesome. We had just spent an hour or more in search of a treasure we could have found in minutes.


But we all agreed the benefits outweighed the embarrassing truth of our mistake. We all had fun, and happily relaxed in the air conditioned vehicle for the ride home.  


April 1, 2011

The One with Honest Decisions

In recent weeks I've come face to face with me. Who I am. Why I do the things I do. What makes me tick (or what ticks me off. teehee.)

I have never been very good at decision making. Not that I lack the wisdom or understanding to make the right decision. Most of the time my choice turns out well. But the actual process of making a choice is the hard part.

Wendy's or McDonald's?

Yogurt parfait or Frosty?

Eat out or cook at home?

Do I really want that doughnut enough to turn the car around or not?

And for each of these almost-meaningless questions I waffle back and forth, back and forth. The problems are many. I force myself to think through every possible repercussion of every available choice before settling. This can be rather annoying and time consuming for both me and those who are waiting on my selection.

And then there's the people pleaser in me. I can't get away from it. Ultimately, I prefer everyone who will be affected by the decision to be satisfied more than I care about getting what I want. Using the eating out example, I will tell you what I want and I will mean it. But I will have subconsciously thought through the financial and taste-bud-appeasing effects of what I say. I like to spend as little money as possible, and I will always choose to spend as little money as possible when someone else is footing the bill. Always. Yes, even if everyone else is spending X amount of money I will look for the cheapest options.

Many times I will say, "Anything but Taco Bell (for example)" rather than saying, "I'd love Wendy's." I would rather leave the group with 10 other options besides the one I would least desire than tell everyone what I really want. This is so that if I don't get what I want most, I won't be disappointed.

I take everything personally. Everything. I wish this weren't true, but it is. If I say, "I really want to go to Wendy's" then I mean I really want to go to Wendy's. I've put my emotions into it and my heart is on the line. It's ridiculous that even fast food choices are connected to my feelings, but it's the truth. Thus, if the group's majority votes for another option, I feel hurt.

It's lame, it really is. This is why I would prefer to quickly calculate everyone else's desires and incorporate them into my own. No one gets hurt. Some might think this is me being dishonest, but it's as honest as I know to be. Taking the group into consider before offering my opinion is what I do--it IS what I WANT.

In summary, I have learned that yes, I value transparency and total honesty. But I also guard my heart in very extreme ways. I am too darn emotional about too many things--choices that require zero emotion. But that is who I am.

Anyone have experience with this type of emotion--in themselves or others? How do you deal with it?

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