Acceptance is Key.

Y’all, it’s possible this post is going to be a teensy bit cranky. Just a teensy weensy.

So, before we begin, I will insert this:

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And voila. A smiling Corgi will cover a lot of ills, I tell you.

And now, *slaps hands together* let us carry on with the grump.

About six months ago, as bedtime, my husband informed me that he was going to take a life insurance policy out on me.

Don’t worry, this is not the grumpy part. But, before I actually dive into that, let me ask you something,

I ask you, dear reader, WHY does my husband decide to make these sorts of statements when we are both lying down, PRONE, past ten o’clock pm? Bedtime, for him, is a time to discuss filing our taxes, or the strange hiss/rattle that the back end of the car is making, or the strange hiss/rattle his backend is making, or what Trump said recently. All of these are things he likes to discuss when I am PRONE.

The nerve.

Ok, let’s break this down: Prone Momsie = Near Coma, Come Lord Jesus I’m TIRED, Momsie. Leave me da heck alone.

I do realize this makes the marriage bed sound sooooooo exciting. Perhaps I need to add here about how our marriage bed is also “Where the Magic Happens,”
but that’s another post for another day.

Plus, let’s just be realistic. Whenever anyone refers to their bedroom as “Where the magic happens,” I get even more snarky than I thought humanly possible.

BUT I DIGRESS.

The news about the life insurance did have me at, “Oh no he’s trying to kill me and get a million dollars” for about four minutes, then I remembered that with our standard of living he would probably make enough to cover the funeral expenses and maybe buy a new Earthway 2030Pplus Deluxe Lawn and Garden, 65 Lbs Fertilizer Drop Spreader, and that’s it.

Well thank YOU big insurance company for taking my husband’s Earthway 2030Pplus Deluxe Lawn and Garden, 65 Lbs Fertilizer Drop Spreader away.

All the man wants is a damn lawn that is well fertilized, and you are denying him that. Which, clearly, is un-American.

Yes, I shall explain.

It all started with the questionnaire.

I love questionnaires. As one who is in recovery, I LOVE  them. Know why? Cuz I always get to gleefully put a big fat X next to “NO! NO WAY! I do NOT!” next to the “Do you drink alcohol?” question.

This is so fun! I put a big huge X and I kinda linger there and smile to myself, and okay, I know, I take fun where I can get it, people.

Other things I get to say NO to on the questionnaire! So exciting!

  • Crack use
  • Smoking
  • Smoking and doing crack at the same time
  • Foul language
  • Endless youtube sessions about dogs were saved from the streets of Peru and now live a happy and serene existence without mange.

Ok, it’s possible the last two were not on THIS questionnaire. But this question was:

“Have you ever abused alcohol?”

Yep. Yes. Yepper. I did. I abused it. Big time. No light banter here, alcohol and I were in a very twisted relationship and there were breakups and bad choices yelling and lots of things. And so, I checked “YES” and felt good. Joyous. Free, perhaps. I was being honest in all  my affairs.

So that’s when the letters started arriving.

The letters were polite and full of questions. They asked things like:

  • When did you start abusing alcohol?
  • Where?
  • How?
  • Why?
  • Do you have photographic evidence?
  • Can you offer any sort of proof that you are, as of now, TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY OKAY?

Ok, I added that last one, but I get their point. I do. It’s just that I ANSWERED all of these letters, that came, weekly, to my mailbox, all asking the same things, and I got a bit tired of it. In fact, after a while, there were three thoughts that started to creep into my brain:

  1. This is what they do to murder suspects. They just keep asking them the same questions and they’re waiting. Just waiting FOR ME TO CRACK.
  2. Why do they keep repeating themselves? Are they on crack?
  3. Maybe…I could, maybe… just lie.

I did not lie. I kept filling out the forms, even when the last one came, asking for dates and times certifying my alcohol abuse and when it started (heck fire people. Like, I don’t know… DID YOU READ MY BOOK?).

And I would mutter things like, “Yes. YES. I am a FREAKING ALCOHOLIC. YES I WILL CHECK THE BOX AGAIN. Yep. That’s ME. You got me there, BIG INSURANCE COMPANY.”

And I would take a breath and say the serenity prayer and slap a stamp on the letter to the Big Insurance Company.

By the way, you will note I am above directly naming this Big Insurance Company. No. I have more class than that. I shall not divulge it.

But it rhymes with SCREWDENTIAL

Ahem.

Ok, so today, I got a letter that is “unable to approve you for coverage at this time.”

Guys. I am not an “unable to approve” kinda girl. Like, my first college choice was a go. (Sure, it was the state university but they said YES to me, ok?)  And I was first in my class to get a job. In general,  I have been YESSED for YEARS because I am a GOOD PERSON AND PEOPLE DO NOT SAY NO TO MOMSIE.

(True, I did not get married until 36 but that was because I said “NO” FIRST to a lot of other offers and also Jesus was protecting me, big time. Thank you, Jesus.)

It had me all flustered. Big Insurance does not like me. Me, who is inherently likeable on very many levels. I want to write Big Insurance Company a letter in which I explain how utterly wonderful I am. And, did you know? I wrote a book, nay TWO (second one out in August!) about this whole alcoholic thing and truly? Utterly? I will NEVER EVER DRINK AGAIN, OK? YOU CAN TRUST ME.

But then, I remembered something.

Um, I am alcoholic. And, I will not drink today, yes. I will not. But tomorrow? Well, tomorrow I will tackle then, but who knows?

I could end up in a drinking mess any moment, within a breath, with any sort of sad feeling or rejection or moment of celebration or any of it. Yes, I have some years of sobriety now, and I do have the Super Sobriety Girl cape and I wear it on the daily. But really?

I could drink again.

It’s a daily decision that people in recovery make. So thank you, Big Insurance Company, for the reminder. Really. No snark. No attitude. No fuss. I get it and I thank you for my daily dose of humility and reality. It hurt, but I get it.

I’ll shall go forth and buy the Earthway 2030Pplus Deluxe Lawn and Garden, 65 Lbs Fertilizer Drop Spreader myself, thank you very much

Now I’m off to figure out how to set up a Go Fund Me for the best freaking fertilizer drop spreader on the planet.

And also? To conclude, I googled “lawn fertilizer images” and am posting this, because it’s awesome:horses-lay-down-dont-call-911.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why do beer commercials get to have all the fun?

You guys. I just watched a beer commercial that made me all emotional.

I mean, I watched it? And it’s possible there was a bit of moisture around the eyes.

A BEER commercial.

You had me at slow-motion prancing, Budweiser Clydesdale.

The people in that commercial were all, “I’m having this really important, bonding, full of love moment with you other actors, out here on this hipster porch. And I have a beard. And look! There goes the Clydesdale again! And this is all so very very real and awesome and good. We are really talking and bonding and great gin and tonics, this commercial is a Norman Rockwell with BEER. And horses.”

What’s the deal, beer? You got to have Spuds McKenszie. He wore sunglasses, y’all.

Hamm’s had a bear, I think.

Dad, did Hamm’s have a bear? I know you’re reading this and you would know. Because, you were around then. 

And then, there was this commercial.

Watch, if you dare:

 

I know. I’ll wait. You go get your tissue box. Sad Doggie Waiting Face will wait too. JUST MAKE SURE YOU DON’T DRINK AND CRASH SOMEHOW BEFORE YOU COME BACK BECAUSE YOU’RE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DOGGIE FACE.

THAT DOG IS SAD AND I CAN’T HANDLE SAD DOGS. HELP.

But anyhow.

I think it’s high time I get an animal. I mean, I already have four, but where is the payout, little furry ones? Why does beer get to have all the fun?

I have these two:IMG_7932.JPGIMG_7929.JPG

Surely, there’s some way we could make some money off of them, right?

I mean, omg. Look. At. That. Butt.

If beer gets to inflict us with a puppy’s need for therapy after a life story that could be its own Lifetime movie, then I get my own animal.

And he is THRILLED BEYOND BELIEF.

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Steve refused. He was my first choice. We had a very short casting call where I grabbed him and clutched him to my chest and rocked back and forth and said, “I love youuuuuu my preshusssss” but he said he is not selling out. His butt is his own.

Hosmer had no issues with any of this because he never understands much anyway.

And also this post is not making much sense at all, so he’s on board with that.

I haven’t really figured out how to do any of this, but if a duck can sell insurance, then I can make it happen.

 

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Steve’s behind is so large it is its own “Insert Ad Here” space, with fur. I couldn’t resist.

He informed me that he felt cheap, and used. I offered to pay him with Whisker Lickins, tuna flavor, to which he blinked, and said,

“If we downsize the font, there’s also room to put a link to your book on the Amazon.”

 

The end.

 

This post was sponsored by:

Nobody. I really need to up my game.

 

Privilege

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! The theme?

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I’ve been working a lot on gratitude lately.

Do you know what? The thing with gratitude is, if you work it, it really works!

Say that fast five times, I dare you.

Gratitude is a conversation with yourself and God about how blessed you are. Here are some other things I am learning about gratitude:

  1. It’s just like a three pointer – you really can practice it and improve. Or, if you’re like me, you can practice it and get real close to the basket but feel better about it.
  2. It should be a daily thing.
  3. It should be an hourly thing.
  4. It’s really a minute by minute thing. You get the idea.

I think gratitude is my simplest way to worship. And privilege is right in there. I mean “privilege” in a good way, not in the “I’m taking over the world” kind of way.

It’s a privilege – to walk down the street every morning and teach my kids about writing and thinking (hopefully at the same time). It’s something I don’t take lightly. It has strings attached, little 18 year old souls that need more than just teaching. It’s a privilege to be with them and learn who they are and learn their stories.

It’s a privilege to relate with my husband. Notice I didn’t just say, “HAVE a husband” because we’re past that now. I have him. I done had him over ten years ago – snared like a 6 foot rabbit in a trap. A rabbit that was in looooove.

He’s still in love, and it’s a privilege to keep walking that path with him – the one where we figure out how to stay in love and work on it and screw up and keep working and on and on. Marriage, y’all. It’s hard core.

It’s a privilege to have these two boys. Red and Blonde. Don’t even get me started. They are just the sweetest, most intelligent, perfect adorable nuggets of humanity. While, at the same time, they are also frustrating and sometimes they have me at: “I don’t even know what to say here. Go to your room. Stay there for two years.”

It’s a privilege. This whole life is that. I was granted special permission by Christ, about twenty years ago, to have a life with him IN it.

And, it’s also totally not, because he never said anything like, “Well, I’m only going to offer out this relationship to a few folks. The special, super elite ones – with the good hair and a really great grasp on the the Old Testament.”

And thank goodness because I am very often 0 for 2 on the hair and the bible thing.

It’s a privilege to talk to Him every day. I ask him stuff and complain and then remember to thank him and keep on talking, and he actually listens.

I have a lot of blessings in my life – I am a healthy, financially ok, employed, white woman with a lot of perks that a lot of people in our world don’t even get to consider.

Realizing this, I am privileged. Blessed. Made alive with hope and wonder with the daily business that is faith.

Amen.

 

 

Date Night – TBT!

Here’s a little Throw Back Thursday from February of last year. As the Day O Love approaches, I am already hunting down the tippy plastic cups… it’s a great tradition.

Formal dress required. Even on the cats.

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Date Night

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Last Saturday night romance was in the air. It was intense, y’all. It was like we were on the Titanic and I was all Queen of the World, and then I got to make out with Leonardo DiCaprio, not long before I disallowed him room on my totally huge raft in the freezing North Atlantic. Very romantic. And yet, our evening was warmer.

Also, I would never make out with Leo. Nope. I am married, y’all. My husband completes me.

Of course, Leo didn’t grace us with our presence, but we had this blurry pic of another dinner guest:

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There were roses. There were chocolates. Earlier that day, the husband let me take a nap, which is the universal, married I Hope I Get Lucky Valentine. But that is another post for another day.

There were also two small boys who had reservations with us for a night of fine dining. I  informed them that they had to come to dinner in ties. And they reacted as if I had asked them to lop off both arms, and then try to attach their ties.

They were informed, in a heavy French accent (I had to take on an accent. It freaks them out and I get to pretend I’m Catherine Deneuve.) “No tie? No food. Zees is Chez Momsie. Dress code, mes bebes.” They sighed heavily, with American accents, clipped their ties onto their Star Wars t-shirts, and showed up at 6:30 pm on the dot. Right on time.

We had a very swanky affair at our house on Valentines Day, and a tradition was born. I printed out menus (thank you, bad clip art!) Macaroni and cheese was offered as an appetizer. I poured the sparkling cider into tiny tippy glasses and no one spilled anything.

 

It was a Valentines miracle.

We ate strawberries and whip cream, the really fancy kind that you squirt out of a can. I offered table-side service for this, as I offered a shot of the stuff in the mouth to each patron. This was a real showstopper.

And we talked about why we loved each other.

“I love Blonde because he shows me how to play Legos,” says Red. He’s grinning like a maniac. This is all mushy and stuff, which is kind of right up his alley. His smile nearly lifts him out of the chair. He lifts his fizzy little glass with panache. “AND I LOVE THIS FANCY DRINK!” he yells. Evidently he thinks we are all in the other room when he speaks, because the bubbles in the drink had evidently made him quite giddy.

Blonde, the wisened 7 year old, has a bit of a tougher time with the mushy business. He is, in all walks of life, less forthcoming with the mush.

“I love Red because…” We all lean in a little.

“Because he is my brother.”

And there it is. The greatest law there is. We love because we are family. We love because we simply have no choice. We are for each other.

My boys are growing older and finding their own friends, their own ways they want to spend an afternoon. They are, however, still pretty inseparable. And what I have told them, almost weekly, is that they, as brothers, must have each other’s backs. They are the ones going to be left when the friends leave, when the family goes, when we get dementia and go into the home, your brother will be the only one left.

(I didn’t really go into the last part with them as I didn’t really want to stop and have to explain ‘dementia’ because depressing. Also, the one other time I sprang this word on them they kept thinking that I was saying, ‘Philadelphia.” Confusing.)

(As a side note to the side note: This whole dementia thing? Really possible because we had kids late in life and when they graduate from high school I’ll be using a walker and won’t be able to see or hear the thing because I will be OLD, y’all. I WAS AROUND BEFORE EMAIL. That old.)

But I digress.

We spent the rest of the evening looking up the bible verses that the husband had put on their Star Wars Valentines. The husband is super spiritual that way. I just shot whip cream at ’em. But he wins in the Jesus department.

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And then we all tried to massacre each other with a really cut throat game of Go Fish.

And that, my friends, is what I call the most romantic evening I have had in a long time.

I am wondering if it competes with Leo’s?

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Intentional

Linking up with my Friday peeps today at Five Minute Friday.

The theme?

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This should be a post about how every day I am practicing intentionality in my parenting.

But instead I would rather talk about my cats.

For the past few days, I have been under the weather.

Note: This phrase bothers me. What does it mean? Is the weather a big blanket? Is it the boss of me? Do I need to ask it to move over?

Anyhow. I have had this weird sickness that keeps rotating slowly through all of my body systems like a wrecking ball. And whoa, now I’ve got Miley Cyrus in this post which really proves the point that I am a bit woozy.

 

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I have had a lot of time to ponder things.

In my job, couches, and blankets, and weather-related idioms are common. I write, and therefore sitting down is kind of part of the deal.

But, the trouble here is that my brain has been wrapped in the funk of sickness, and my writing has been sort of like this:

Article 1 on my desktop:

Children hard and parents don’t like them.

Different article:

Once there was a woman. And.

Another attempt at any other article, take your pick:

It was a dark and stormy night. And?

 

And so on. When I am well, and all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed*, writing from home still doesn’t have a solid structure to it. Most days I get up, work out, read a little bible because I need the Lord after working out, drink forty cups of coffee, and then boom, I sit and write. And write some more. Plus, more writing. Then, I really mix it up and I re-read what I wrote, hate it, edit, and then write some more.

Mix this all up with fun household chores and me saying, “Do you need to go outside?” to my dog about five million times, and you get the idea.

The past few days? With the sickness? I get up.

Yes, that’s all. Sometimes I drink one cup of coffee, but since one of those systems that has been affected by this horrible bug is my digestive one… coffee tends to bounce around in there and cause problems.

I have never felt the sting of wasted time more acutely than when I started writing “for real” with my first book, Bottled. Every day was in my head, just me and my words, and found out something rather daunting: I am totally lazy. I am just not very good at a structured schedule.

This is fine and all, because I allowed inspiration to drive me, so writing at 11 pm while both boys are smushed up against me, mouth-breathing, in one bed because they had a bad dream, together, simultanously, and I have no boundaries? That was a writing thing.

Also, writing a blog post while I cook dinner that is brilliant and funny and is all just in my head? Also a thing. And I mean the blog post, not the dinner. The dinner was mediocre at best.

Writing an article that is due tomorrow, tomorrow? Totally a thing.

When I got sick, the deadlines didn’t offer me some Tylenol and left me totally alone. Also, I had no inspiration because I am sick, dude. My inspiration was shoved up under the weather, along with most of my excretory system. This was unpleasant.

And so, I give you this:cute-melted-animals-9-58beb620da23d__700.jpg

This is not actually my cat. This is some preshus cuddums I found on the internets. I wasn’t able to use a picture of any of my cats being totally lazy. They’re all sleeping upstairs and I’m too tired to walk up there.

So, did you know? Cats embrace laziness.

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They don’t care. If they need a nap – they find an impossible location and it’s ON.

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What have I learned from this? What is the furry take-away?

Dude. If you are sick, be sick. Rest. Email your editors ask for an extra day. Drink hot tea and sleep in cute, furry poses that make people squeal, “Ohhh! Preshus!” and lunge for their cameras so they can post you on the instagrams.

No. No, I don’t suggest the pictures part. Me and my wack-job bodily functions have not been all that photogenic lately.

Intentionality is intentionality, even when your intention is to do absolutely nothing but drink clear fluids for three days. It’s ok.

But.

This illness has made me miss the days when I actually had the brain capacity to write.I won’t waste that. My intention is to make those days count. It’s a great reminder.  Perhaps that’s why we get the flu – to remind us about how, once, we were well, and how grateful we were for those days, when we could walk down the hall in a straight line without feeling like we’re floating, in a dead fish kind of way.

So I woke up this morning and I felt… better. Like, not totally over the weather, but just…next to it. Like, the weather and I were giving a side hug. And thus, this post. It’s not a Pulitzer, but I’ll take it. A woman who writes about cats on a regular basis is not a Pulitzer woman. She’s just funny, sometimes, and writes things that hopefully make people smile.

And that has always been my intention.

Oh, and also this. The best explanation of intention that I know.

Quotes-to-Help-Overcome-Addiction-Intention-POSTER.png*Note: this phrase also bothers me. What does it mean? 

What’s Your Motivation?

Linking up with my favorite Friday people today, Five Minute Friday.

The theme?

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Back when I was young and vastly much more energetic, I used to teach high school theater.

Those days were pretty nutty, and involved a lot of plays that took on a bit of a wonky Little Rascals, “Let’s put on a show!” kinda vibe, but you know. I remember once, (and only once) asking a sixteen year old while we were working on a scene, “What’s your motivation here?” He stared at me blankly.  And then I think he answered, “Well, I’m not doing basketball and my parents made me do something extracurricular.” I let it go. Plus, it was for Bye Bye Birdie, so, you know, I bet his true motivation was to break into song and dance at random points without his voice cracking like a sheet of ice.

So, the basic lesson here: Never ask a teenager about motivation. They never really know.

Also: It’s totally fine to ask a Momsie what her motivation is. But sometimes… I too, never really know.

There’s the quick answer to the above: Love God, and love others.

But also, there’s my recovery, marriage, my kids, my service, my writing, my book, my church, my fire baton routine… (Ok, just kidding about the baton part. I can dare to dream, however.)

I think moms have this ever-cycling wheel of What’s Most Important circling in our souls – our children… our husbands… our careers…. our ability to bake the best casseroles for church suppers… And repeat.

It’s an endless cycle of Where Do I Put All My Energy? Energy doesn’t do so well when it’s slathered all over the place, like thin margarine on toast.

Here’s what I would like: when I wake up, I would like a plane flying overhead, with one of those banners behind it, saying something like: DANA. FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS.

Or…

DANA. DON’T WORRY ABOUT BALANCE. BALANCE IS FOR GYMNASTS. GOD HAS YOUR BACK.

Or…

DANA, YOUR CASSEROLES WILL NEVER WIN ANY PRIZES. LET THAT GO. GOD LOVE YOU ANYWAY.

Or, simply:

LET GO, LET GOD.

My motivations can get tangled. Thus, the airplane banner thing would be helpful. I need visual, and large, airborn reminders, I guess. But, it would be kinda weird. The rest of the neighborhood might need a heads up.

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You had me at special snowflake.

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In today’s post I would like to channel my Inner Jim. That’s my dad.

And I would also like to talk about alcoholism.

So, YAY, this post is going to be INTENSE!

Why, you ask?

1. My dad is kinda intense. He likes to grip you by the elbow, in that way that makes the entire side of your body go kinda limp and numb, and he looks you in the eye and says things like, “How are you, REALLY?” and if you lie at all you feel like God might smite you, because God and Jim are *crosses fingers* like THIS.

2. Alcoholism. Nobody attempts that subject without a bit of intensity. I mean, we don’t just say things like, “Hmmmm, I think I might be coming down with a bit of alcoholism today. But, it’s just a tickle at the back of my throat. I’ll just get some rest and I’ll be fine!”

3. I’m in a really weird mood so there’s that.

I am also linking up with my favorite end of the week people: Five Minute Friday! and today’s theme??

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Ok, here’s what I know:

  1. My dad would tell me (as would all the other addicts in recovery) that I am not a special snowflake. I’m no different than anyone else. I have no special backstory that makes my sad issues any more special or sad.
  2. This kinda is a bummer because ever since I was knee-high to a very special grasshopper I KNEW I WAS SO VERY DIFFERENT FROM EVERYONE. This explains so much.
  3. And, I am. But also, I’m not. So you know, not confusing at all.
  4. This does not have to be figured out. Really, the only answer to all this is understanding who Jesus is and trucking with him.
  5. Different is good. It means I can wear socks that don’t match and I tend to always (nearly always) break into dance whenever I visit my kids’ school and they stop me at the door with the camera thing. Because the office administrators really need to see me doing the Running Man.
  6. Different, in terms of alcoholism? Not good. I am not different. My addiction and recovery trucks along fine with the men and women, young, old, black, white, green, pink, tall, short, big, small, cat lover, cat hater, educated, street smart, rich, poor, faith-filled, faith-poor, lost, found, tattooed, pierced, pristine, married, single, somewhere in between, person who walks in the doors with the coffee pot on the door.
  7. Everyone should be so lucky as to have an Inner Jim. Just FYI.

I am reminded of this every time I attend a meeting, and I remember the words of one of my favorite old-timers there, “Mo.” He would say, “I’m no better than anyone else. And I’m no worse.”

He was right. And here is the thing – doesn’t this also apply to our faith? Doesn’t it also sound a little bit like how Jesus wants us to live?

I mean, we are all in recovery from something. Or we should be. Right?

Right. galatians-3-28.jpg