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Prayerful Parenting: A Review of “Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday”


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*This post contains affiliate links. This means we may receive referral fees if you make a purchase using our link. This referral fee does not affect the cost of the product or service.*

Moms are in charge of a lot. We hold multiple jobs. We wear multiple hats. We juggle multiple balls, making sure to keep them all in the air at all times. So, it’s no surprise we try to control everything we can. We make plans, and back-up plans and then emergency plans for our back-up plans, because if we don’t then all those balls could come crashing down with such velocity and with such a domino effect that it could send someone spiraling straight into a full-blown meltdown. And that someone is usually us.

Moms need a cheerleader. A guide. A leader. A chauffeur. A tutor. A mentor. Someone who can reciprocate all the roles a mom fills on a daily basis. We need someone in our corner. Someone who can pick us up and take over control when the going gets tough and we feel like we just might lose our ever-lovin’ minds. Our social media feeds can certainly “feed” the parenting pressure. The mom-anxiety. The Mom-guilt. The feeling that we can’t trust anyone but ourselves and our minivan. And although we may use hashtags like #jesustakethewheel or wear t-shirts that say “this mom runs on coffee and Jesus,” how often do we actually rely on Him as heavily as we rely on our “#dryshampoo?”

Enter, Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday by Valerie Woerner. “Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday” confronts the mom-stress head on. Looks it right in the eye and tells it to take a hike. Because, despite what we may see on social media, there’s so much more to motherhood than coffee and complaining about your crazy, misbehaved kids or your good-for-nothin’ husband. Valerie uses Romans 12:2 in the introduction to her latest book, and it’s this very line that had me hooked until I reached the last page. It reads, “Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” She goes on to to link this verse to the increasing number of memes, posts, tshirts, etc. etc. etc. that spin motherhood into this wild mess of misery. Sure it seems harmless, and we might get a little laugh out of them, but I can assure you this book is much more relatable than those images you see online.

She says we are mom’s, not martyrs, that we are not “victims of motherhood” and that “our children are not inconveniences.” My favorite line from this book reads, “The unpredictability of children is something we should be grateful for, because it reminds us how much we need the one who is really in control.” We, as moms, have so much to be thankful for. So many daily opportunities to find joy in the chaos of raising children. So many moments to find laughter instead of frustration. Sure, there are hard days. There are moments when I think I may not make it to nap time, let alone until 6pm when my husband gets home. There are days when I cry just as much as my toddler does. But those days are far outweighed by the good days. By trips to the library and the zoo and watching them laugh and learn and become these wonderful little people.

That is where God wants us to live, and that is how Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday made me realize that I can find joy everyday by choosing to see everyday moments as joyful ones. In the happy moments that remind us why having the opportunity to raise children is the biggest blessing on earth. In the mayhem that will someday become the peaceful memories of their childhood. In baby giggles and slimy kisses and sticky hands and messy faces. In barefoot dance parties, in laughing while saying “go get your shoes” for the 459th time in twenty minutes and, yes, even in the days when I think things may really come apart at the seams. Because being a little someone’s mama is simply the best job in the whole world and no meme or GIF or website can convince me otherwise. And yes, while this honest review “contains affiliate links,” I can assure you that my motivation for sharing this book with my fellow mamas is not monetary. It is to encourage you to read this book cover to cover, tell a friend about it, then talk about it and invite prayer into your parenting. It hasn’t made me perfect, I will always be a-work-in-progress mom, but it’s certainly made me better.

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How Our Home (and Our Antique Radio) Tell Our Story.


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Music has always been a healer for me. There is something therapeutic in getting lost in a melody. In finding lyrics that just fit. Music lifts moods, relieves stress and heals heartbreak, it fixes bad days and enhances good ones. Music can’t be touched, but it certainly can be felt. It brings back old memories, and creates new ones. Music mends wounds, it empowers, it encourages. My love of music is what kept me huddled for hours around a brand new “boombox” when I was 10, and ultimately what led me to a career in (and love for) radio. There’s a thrill that comes with finding a new band, a new song, a new genre, even that I fall in love with immediately. 

Awhile back, I was gifted a 1930s Majestic radio that belonged to my Great-Grandparents. It sits in the middle of our great room and is much more than a conversation piece. It is a piece of my ancestry. A link to the past and the heart of our home. I’ve always loved to daydream about the legendary music and historical news stories that must have come through those speakers. Tommy Dorsey. Glenn Miller. Elvis. The beginning and end of World War II. Those trusty speakers have since gone silent, but a bluetooth speaker inside lets that beautiful music box live again. It’s the center of barefoot dancing in the kitchen with my babies. The soundtrack to Saturday morning pancakes, a glass of wine with Jimmy on a Thursday evening, or an afternoon Reds game.

It once again brings family together and fills every corner of our home with a hand-picked playlist that matches the rhythm of our day. It is one of my very favorite pieces in our home and a daily reminder of the importance of a second chance. 

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5 Ways to Avoid the Inevitable Quarter-life Crisis


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Like it or not we all have one, the inevitable post college, what am I doing with my life, downward spiral of a panic attack.  You make be reading this thinking, nope, never had one; and I’m here to say you’ve either not yet been through it, are currently going through it, or maybe your far beyond your mid twenties and what once sent you into a tizzy now seems so trivial its almost comical – and there we have it

1.First things first

Realize that what you’re going through right now will be one of life’s many hurtles. What pains you today will be a dull ache tomorrow. You’re lack of a 5 year plan will seem amusing when everything about your life falls into place in 6 months. Moral of the story: stop putting time constraints on things that aren’t time sensitive .Moral of the story: stop putting time constraints on things that aren’t time sensitive

Mathew 6: 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself each day has enough trouble of its own.

Fun fact. I plan to see all the National Parks and collect their patches.
My dad and me in Canyonlands.

2.Find a Hobby that is unique to YOU.

Find yourself with extra time now that you’re not worrying about where your life will be when you’re 30? Find a hobby that releases stress and is all your own. If I had a dollar for every time a worry entered my mind I would’ve been a billionaire before I even entered my twenties, and the worlds wealthiest woman by twenty-five.

Last year I had a lot of extra time on my hands. Even though I had a full-time job that I absolutely adored, I needed a new goal. I’ve always envied the fitness bloggers. So, I set the goal to complete a half marathon with my best friend and we completed it with a smile on our face and a huge feeling of accomplishment in our hearts but, Id be lying if I said it was anything but easy or relaxing to me.

Then one day, on a casual stroll through Michael’s, my mom and I decided we would try our hands at watercolor painting…and LOVED IT.  I’ve also always admired anyone who could play piano, mainly my mom and grandpa (poppy).

So, I contacted some old friends, rented a few books from the library, and have been fumbling my way through YouTube tutorials ever since. Am a Picasso or Liberace? NO. But the beauty of it is there are no time constraints or hard and fast rules, and that’s what I needed most. The Jist: find a hobby that is right for you. And if you prefer running paint over running races, that’s fine too.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve that God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

3.Never loose sight of your goals but respect the bus driver.

I’ve always dreamed of being an Advanced Practice Nurse and last year I decided I would take the leap and apply to a program (insert everyone’s opinions – you’ll get a lot of them when you’re chasing your dreams). I worried about not getting in. I worried about working full time and going to school. Pretty much you name it, I worried about it.  But, my mom was always there with the gentle reminder to “stop trying to drive the bus”.  Reality check: God has made everything work out the way they were intended to in the past, why am I pushing my way to the drivers seat now?

Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

4.Just ‘dance it out’

The strive to be a billionaire with a perfect body and a staffed mansion by age 26 is a lonely road. We all want a perfect life. A life free from heartache and setbacks but once we see that life’s little pitfalls build character, we also start to see who we want to be next to us through it all.  Life almost never goes directly as planed, but isn’t that the beauty of it? Just know who you want on the dance floor with you when you need to dance it out.

Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good.

5.Enjoy the ride

When I was 16 I would’ve never believed you when you told me I made it through honors chemistry.  I would’ve never thought I’d still be dating the same sweet guy that I adored in high school seven years later. And I definitely would’ve never thought a night out for Emmy would’ve resulted in a happy marriage that gave me my two sweet nephews that are always pulling me away from my school assignments. But that’s what I get the biggest kick out of. Some day were going to look back and smile at that silly 20 something…thirty something…year old worrying about … whatever he or she was worrying about and be, in the words of poppy “ already grown up”.

Peter 1:6-7 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine.

Pictured: the best part of being an aunt…giving them sugar and then giving them back.
My Michael and Me just before my senior prom. May 2012
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In Honor of International Women’s Day: An Introduction


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Today’s International Women’s Day! So first and foremost, here’s to all our female readers and lady friends. Who can argue with an excuse to celebrate gals all over the globe? We’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to two of our favorite women. The matriarchs of our family. Two women who were the definition of strength, faith and beauty and of course….our namesake!

Grandma Doris at her 90th Birthday Party

If there’s one thing we know we inherited from Grandma Doris … it’s her sweet tooth. Grandma Doris was a mother of thirteen (yep. you read that right.) and knew her way around the kitchen. She could deliver a bellyache alongside a belly laugh with a batch of her homemade “Aunt Philly cookies” (which remains a family secret to this day) and her quick-witted personality was as vivid as her wavy red (and later, snowy white) hair. Our recipes page hosts several recipes we found while paging through Grandma Doris’ cookbook and including some new recipes we’ve found along the way.

Grandpa “Louie” and our Grandma Doris Honeymooning at Clifty Falls

She valued her faith and her family and taught her grandchildren to appreciate the little things life has to offer. She loved to be outside, soaking in all the goodness that comes from spending a few hours in the sunshine or in the shade of an old tree watching the birds…Cardinals being her favorite. She took great pride in the climbing Clematis and “Hen and Chick” that adorned her front porch and had an enviable green thumb.

“Poppy” and Grandma Jane with our Uncle Tony

Grandma Jane was a woman of style and pep. She had a fierce love of fashion and her family. As an independent seamstress and designer, a one of a kind dress was not hard to come by, especially when it came time for the weddings of her two daughters. She led by example in faith and femininity, always teaching her family that You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile … and the right pair of shoes, of course.

With her legacy in mind, we’ll explore some of the long lost fashion trends and etiquette from Grandma Jane’s generation. Her confidence and fun-loving personality was something to be admired. From belting out every line of “Sentimental Journey,” with her cousin Ruthie every time they got together; singing at the top of their voice until they’d collapse into a giggling heap to dancing with us to “New York, New York” in her living room, where there was music, there was Grandma Jane.

While we miss them dearly, we hope to keep their legacies alive by carrying on their hobbies, interests and passions by making them our own, and then sharing them with you. Happy International Women’s Day!

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Valentines Day: Be a Lover


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Its Valentines Day, the mush in the air is almost palpable. There’s a line out the door at every florist in town and even White Castle is taking reservations. Some of you likely roll your eyes and go on with your day and others are so head over heels it makes everyone a little nauseated no matter which side you’re on. But this year, we’re encouraging you to approach Valentine’s Day with a fresh perspective and with a goal to love others and love yourself.

Love others.

“And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:14

We’ve both experienced single and partnered, happy and sad Valentine’s Days, and I’m here to tell you that whether or not you have someone tossing pebbles at your window or showing up on your doorstep with roses does not have to be the gauge for a happy Valentine’s Day.  Chances are there’s someone you love somewhere. Someone who has done something nice for you lately or was a loyal friend when you needed one. Why not skip the forced romanticism and make this Valentine’s Day about them? Use today as a chance to be grateful for the people you love and the people who love you.  

I LOVE sending and receiving cards, so naturally a day where it is encouraged to send love notes is a day that tickles me pink. Whether it be your Grandparents, sister, best friend, or significant other … who doesn’t love being told how much they mean to you? There’s something about getting an unexpected note of admiration and gratitude that can brighten even the darkest corners of a soul.

Love yourself.

“For God is within her. She will not fall.”

Psalm 46:5

While we’re talking admiration and gratitude, when was the last time you made yourself feel special? Maybe this Valentine’s Day, choose to be your own secret admirer. I’m guessing you made a New Year’s resolution last month, right? Are you any closer to achieving it? Dedicate your Valentine’s day to taking the next step, or leap, or running start if that’s what you need to get started. Let this bravery and progress boost your confidence and take on the rest of the year with your head held high. Reflect on your personal goals and pour yourself into making them happen. Want to start a blog? a business? a new habit? Today’s the day. Sure, you’ll encounter some naysayers, but they’ll likely come around. And if they don’t, you’ll still be happier knowing you gave it a go.

If you’ve already accomplished your 2019 goal, ask yourself how you can help someone else. Make your Valentine’s Day wish to leave your little corner of the world a little better than you found it. Be kind and humble. Be helpful and generous.

Love God. Love others. Love yourself.

And, to all our family, friends, followers … we love you. Happy Valentines Day!

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What Mom’s Really Want for Valentine’s Day


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We’ve never been big on Valentine’s Day in our house. There’s something about obligatory gifting that has never appealed to us so each year we get a pizza (which, let’s be serious, is exactly what I do want) and call it a day. I can honestly say I’ve never wanted anything for Valentine’s Day. (Can you hear all the men out there saying “oh suuuuure?”) 

This year, with two little boys in the house, I sat down to think about what I really would like for Valentine’s Day.

Sleep

This was top of my list. We were blessed with two big babies who love to sleep. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t wish they had a snooze button.

HOT coffee

I don’t mean the cup I’ve reheated (and forgotten in the microwave) so many times that the taste is starting to fade.  I want a piping hot cup of coffee someone else makes and hands to me while I lounge in my PJs and catch up on the book that’s been sitting on my nightstand for 4 months. Which reminds me that book is probably long overdue to the library.

TV time

I’d like to watch The Bachelor without hitting pause to feed someone. Unless that someone is myself of course and we’re talking about Oreos. Or wine. I’ll hit pause for that.

An extra hour

An extra hour to gather my thoughts and feed myself before the kiddies wake up in the morning? Yes, please. (If you’re asking yourself, “well then why doesn’t she just wake up earlier” … please see #1)

Food

Hot when it’s supposed to be hot. Cereal that hasn’t gone soggy. Food on my plate and not on my clothes and in my hair.

A fairy godmother

Oh to come home from a trip to the zoo to find my house has been magically transformed into a pristine palace. Folded clean laundry, a glistening bathroom, neatly organized toys and books and dinner on the stove. Ahh someone pinch me. Think she could tackle the horror that undoubtedly lies beneath my little one’s car seat? How about walking (or being walked by, rather) my crazy dog? Add that to the list please.

“One more”

One more newborn nap on my chest. One more bottle they still need me to hold. One more day to enjoy that goofy gummy grin before they get their first tooth. One more feeding in the middle of the night when the house is silent and it’s just the two of us. One more minute holding them while they sleep before I put them in their own bed. One more day in those sweet baby-blue jammies that I brought them both home in. That’s what I really want when it all comes down to it. One more opportunity to enjoy just how little they are even though they seems to be getting so big so fast. Isn’t that what we all really want?

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Are We All Really That Busy?


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My husband and I had Christmas parties and gatherings on our calendar this past holiday season. Lots of them. We drank, we ate, we dressed up, we ate. We ate. We ate. We also had the opportunity to catch up with lots of friends we hadn’t seen in a while. We talked about jobs, kids, family, our holiday travel plans, but the words we heard the most …. “So busy.” No matter the party, no matter the conversation. “Busy.”

I’m guilty of it myself. Someone asks how our weekend was, “busy…but fun.” How as our Christmas? “Busy. But good busy, we saw lots of friends and family.” How was our vacation? How’s being parents of two? How was our Tuesday afternoon? You guessed it. Busy. It’s become the default answer for our generation, it seems, but when did filling our calendar become more important than filling our time with the people we love? Are we really that much busier than generations before us, or is it simply that keeping up with someone’s Instagram account has become enough interaction to sustain a relationship? Being busy used to be temporary, but now it seems busy has become synonymous with success, happiness, liveliness, and adventure. We somehow value being in a constant state of frenetic activity.

I have a friend, Meghan, who I’ll call out by name because I’m about to sing her praises. She is likely the busiest person I know in the true sense of the word. She doesn’t seem to miss a birthday party, a baby shower, a music festival or a Cincinnati Reds game. I have no doubt that her calendar has very little white space. She fills her life with the people she loves and takes hundreds of fantastic pictures in the process. But here’s something else she’s good at … picking up the phone. If I text her, I typically get an immediate phone call and we cram about 4 hours of catching up into her 40 minute commute to work. Our conversations dart from high school memories, to her students, to my children and her peaks and valleys of being 8 months pregnant and then back to a favorite episode of Downton Abbey. Though, no matter the topic, a long phone call with a friend who has known you for the better part of your life always feels good doesn’t it?

While I’m confessing my bad-friend sins here … I’ll be the first one to tell you that I am horrible at talking on the phone. (I’m trying to get better this year, I promise friends!) I’ll see a missed call, vowing to call them back but choosing to finish a list of other tasks first. What I’m realizing, though, is that it’s just that. A choice. I’m choosing to let other things take priority or to just text my friends when I’m thinking of them rather than dialing their number. Why? Because I’m busy of course, and that way I can hold conversations with several friends all at once. I can check in, check the box, and keep checking off my to do list. An exchange of quality for quantity, but it’s just not the same as hearing someone’s voice.

My hope this year is that you’ll join me in making people a priority. It may not feel like you have the time for a quick phone call, but I can promise you it’s there if you want to find it badly enough.

Make the time, then make the call. I promise you won’t regret it.

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Hamilton Stinks…In a Good Way


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“This May look weird” … was what I heard When I was unwrapping my Christmas gift from my best friend this year. I pulled an empty jar out of a brown paper bag that read “Petals and Wicks”. Reading the confused face she says “we’re making candles!”. Being a DIY enthusiast, this made me all sorts of giddy inside. Needless to say this Past Saturday was spent WELL at Petals and Wicks on Main Street in Hamilton Ohio.

The store front is nestled among other old but charming buildings in the heart of Hamilton and the interior is even more welcoming. Opening the door we were immediately greeted by one of the many wonderful smells and two cheery smiles, owner Mike Hoskins and his niece.

They walked us through the picking, pouring, and finishing steps with enthusiasm and good humor. The prices are well within reason, 17$ for a jar and candle making class…yes please!

The …settling? ( pardon my lack of candle creator lingo) Process after you pour the candle takes about 90 minutes — just enough time for us to pop into True West, for a coffee; Henry’s, for a coconut haystack; and Sarah’s House, to dream of one day having a house that is decorated half as cute as her store.

90 short minutes later we were on our way and I was sniffing my elderflower, olive blossom and, gardenia candle, hand crafted by yours truly.

Needless to say, Hamilton smells …SO good.

Thanks Petals and Wicks!

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How to Live Your Best Life … As Told by My Dog


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This is my Rosey girl. She’s a 4 year old yellow Lab and is simultaneously the apple of my eye and the thorn in my side. She is a boisterous balance of laziness and a frenzy of flying white fur. She has a precious face and a head full of rocks. She’s as sweet as she is sour, as smart as she is flighty, she is a money pit, an absolute nut, and also the best dog on the planet.

A few days ago I was watching her loaf around the house, from her favorite spot on the carpet to her bed and then to a sunny spot in the center of the floor where she let our robot vacuum (that we had to buy solely because of the amount of hair she loses) make its way around her. I thought, “You sure do have it made, Rosebud. Life is good isn’t it?” What a valuable lesson I was being taught. Life is good. Especially if you live life like your dog in these simple ways:

  1. Be a Great Friend. Be so full of love and loyalty that it makes your whole body wiggle with excitement. Live for the affection of the people you love. Give it right back.
  2. Let your energy fill the room. Show off your fun-loving spirit to the point that it borders on obnoxious. Give your friends a gentle nudge when they’re feeling low, stare them down until they get off the couch if need be.
  3. Forgive. Maybe they broke a promise, lied to you or disappointed you. Maybe they yelled at you because you ate the baseboards. Forgive them anyway.
  4. Love yourself. Bark at your own reflection when you catch a glimpse. You’re just that adorable.
  5. Be Persistent. Let no one tell you no when it comes to something you want badly enough. Like dinner at 3:00pm, two breakfasts, or that plate full of brownies on the counter, for example.
  6. Greet everyone with a friendly face.
  7. Eat whatever you want every once in a while. Hot fudge sundaes. Cookies. Fried chicken. The cat’s litter box. Whatever your culinary soft spot may be, indulge every so often.
  8. Ignore boundaries that keep you from chasing your dreams … or a herd of whitetail deer. Even if that boundary happens to be a fence. Run at top speed into the woods then trot back home with tail and tongue wagging.
  9. Find immense joy in life’s simple pleasures. Naps. Several in the same day if you need it. Belly scratches. Fresh air in your face while riding in the car. Every day is full of tiny treasures you just have to find them.
  10. Live every day like it is the best day of your entire life. Make a fuss over nothing. Let your hair down…and leave it in every corner of the house. Bark at the garbage truck. Roll around in the snow until you’re soaking wet. Crave adventure and sniff it out until you find it and love life with every fiber of your being.


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Grace. Love. And a Brand New Year


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Every new year starts with resolutions. Promises to eat better, critiques of our relationships, judgments of our lack of motivation to make it to the gym. We take advantage of an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. A flaw into a quality. To make ourselves just a little bit better.

But what if we focused on making our strengths stronger instead? Sure, there is always room for self improvement, but wouldn’t it be refreshing to start each year with positivity and an optimistic perspective? Maybe last year didn’t go quite the way you thought it would. Maybe you didn’t get the promotion you thought you deserved. Maybe a your relationship with a friend or family member began to fracture. Or maybe the stars just didn’t align when you wanted them to. Rather than looking back at 2018 with disdain and disappointment look for the opportunities to make things better in 2019. A chance to work harder. A chance to forgive. A chance to trust God and his plan. A chance to start the new year with grace and love.

Consider how a slight shift in your perspective could spread to other people. Use your resolutions this year to make your little corner of the world a little bit brighter. Could you resolve to make the life of a stranger better this year, even for just a moment? Promise to keep the promises you make to your children. Make your spouse a higher priority. Show kindness, slow down, offer forgiveness (or ask for it), work hard and use your God-given talent to do some real and recognizable good this year.

Sincerely,

Doris Jane