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The History of Birthdays (Part II)

The History of Birthdays (Part II)

Since our readers enjoyed our first post all about the history of birthdays, we thought we’d share even more fun birthday facts that you may not know. Isn’t it funny that we all do similar things on our birthdays without any thought about how or why we do them?             For instance, where did the idea come from to wear pointy hats? Why do we give gifts? And who came up with that birthday song in the first place? Read on for some fun and interesting information regarding the special day each one of us celebrates.

Pointy Party Hats

The History of Birthdays (Part II)

Though there is no one origin of the pointy party hat, this distinctive headgear has been around at the very least since     2800 BC, and was recognized as a symbol of power or status:

  • In ancient Egypt, only the nobility were allowedThe History of Birthdays (Part II)      to wear pointed hats as a symbol of their elevated status above their subjects. The different designs made individual pharaohs identifiable to their subjects.
  • In medieval Jewish traditions, some people started wearing cylindrical hats secured around the chin to distinguish themselves in Christian Europe. These hats were higher and more pointed than the traditional Jewish Kippah of today.
  • It was believed that witches and wizards wore pointed hats because the hats   were representations of the cone  of power.The History of Birthdays (Part II)The History of Birthdays (Part II)

 

  • CaThe History of Birthdays (Part II)tholic princesses and noblewomen                                   in Medieval Europe would wear                                             cone-shaped hats intricately decorated                           with long veils, precious jewels, and even                         intricate butterfly and flower detailing.

 

 

 

  • The party hat can also be traced to the dunce cap, worn by misbehaving or poorly
    performing schoolchildren from the mid-19th century to the The History of Birthdays (Part II)early 20th century, signifying that the wearer engaged in frivolous and foolish behavior—naturally what we all expect of the birthday person on their special day!

 

 

 

Overall, these cylindrical birthday hats continue to be the proud tradition in many different cultures, with the point of the hat elevating the wearer to the status of royalty—which, we all agree, a person becomes on their birthday.

Giving Birthday Gifts

One theory regarding the giving of birthday gifts dates back to early Europe, when people believed that evil spirits would seek out and haunt someone on his or her birthday, most importantly the king.The History of Birthdays (Part II) Therefore, on one’s birthday, people would gather to protect that person and would bring with them good wishes. These gatherings later became our modern day birthday parties, and over time, people brought more than just good wishes to ward off evil spirits; they brought presents, too.

 
Who Wrote The Birthday Song?

The History of Birthdays (Part II)According to the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records, “Happy Birthday to You” is the most recognized song in the English language, and its lyrics have been translated into at least 18 languages. But where did it come from?

In 1893, sisters Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill wrote a song they called, Good Morning to All,” which was part of the book Song Stories for the Kindergarten and was intended to be sung by students before classes began. As the song caught on across America, it developed a number of variations, becoming “Good Morning to You” and then, in 1924, Robert Coleman published a songbook and added a few extra lyrics that would quickly come to overshadow the original lines and came to be the rendition we all know today, “Happy Birthday to You.”

The History of Birthdays (Part II)The History of Birthdays (Part II)The History of Birthdays (Part II)The History of Birthdays (Part II)The History of Birthdays (Part II)The History of Birthdays (Part II)

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Summer Gardening

Summer Gardening
Gardening is the purest of human pleasures.”
—Francis Bacon

Gardens—of any and all kinds—bring both joy and tranquility to those who cultivate and grow them. Whether it’s a flower garden, a vegetable garden, an herb garden, or a purely whimsical garden, it’s a place that becomes your haven. Your sanctuary. Your masterpiece.

Of course, gardens take time and patience. You need to plan, plant, water, and weed. But you also get to enjoy every moment, watching them grow into the magnificent fruits of your labor.

Blue Mountain certainly appreciates the significance of lovely gardens to our readers. That’s why we love to create beautiful eCards that specifically feature a garden theme. Click here to see some enchanting examples—and then be sure to send one to someone special today.

If you already have a garden growing right now, wonderful! If not, we’d love to offer some creative examples of unique gardens you may want to consider growing yourself. Or at least to “oooh” and “aaah” over.

Flower Gardens:

Summer Gardening
Stacy K Floral

Summer Gardening
HGTV

Summer Gardening
Architecture Art Designs

Vegetable Gardens:

Summer Gardening
LLH Designs

Summer Gardening
The Telegraph

Summer Gardening
Juneau Empire

Herb Gardens:

Summer Gardening
Not Just a Housewife

Summer Gardening
Apartment Therapy

Summer Gardening
Persephone Magazine

Whimsical Gardens:

Summer Gardening
Hansel and Gretel House

Summer Gardening
Gardening Gone Wild

Summer GardeningSummer GardeningSummer GardeningSummer GardeningSummer GardeningSummer Gardening

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Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)

Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)                There are few things in life that are forever immortalized as being incredibly sweet and utterly irresistible. Among them are babies, puppies…and desserts. Yes, decadent, luscious, oh-so-delicious and wonderful desserts that bring joy and happiness to everyone’s lips.

It just so happens that July is chock-full of fun and fascinating dessert-related holidays. Why not take a moment to look at the list below and celebrate the only way that makes the most perfect sense: by baking a special treat or making a frozen delight! (For your convenience, we’ve included a link to each and every mouth-watering recipe.)

And to kick off what happens to be today’s featured holiday—Chocolate Day—the folks at Blue Mountain are sharing our very own personal favorite recipe for Chocolate Fondue that you’re sure to love. Just download the fondue recipe card designed exclusively for you, print, and enjoy! (To print the recipe card, simply click “fondue” in the above sentence!)

July 7 – National Strawberry Sundae Day
Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)

July 8 – National Chocolate with Almonds Day
Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)

July 9 – National Sugar Cookie Day
Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)

July 11 – National Blueberry Muffin Day
Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)

July 12 – Pecan Pie Day
Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)

July 15 – Tapioca Pudding Day
Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)

July 19 – National Raspberry Cake Day
Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)

July 21 – National Ice Cream Day
Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)

July 27 – National Crème Brulee Day
Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)

July 30 – National Cheesecake Day
Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)

July 31 – National Cotton Candy Day
Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)

Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)Fun Food Holidays (with FREE recipe card!)

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Summer Memories

Summer Memories
With the recent arrival of summer, everyone is definitely in the summer mood and anticipating these much-awaited lazy, hazy days.

There are so many good memories that come to mind when summertime starts. We have flashbacks of riding in the back of station wagons for the family trips to the beach or lake, ice-cream cones melting under hot summer skies, running barefoot through the grass catching fireflies, the smell of neighborhood charcoal grills firing up for garden parties and summertime get-togethers and, best of all, daylight lasting so long that the days stretched out in infinite bliss. There are so many wonderful thoughts and feelings that come to mind when summertime is here, that we thought it would be fun to share some of the favorite summer memories from the folks here at Blue Mountain and the reasons why we all love this warm,  sun-shiny season.

“My favorite summer memory is years ago, going to the beach in Rhode Island with my mom and sister, and riding the carousel.”

“I love summer because of gardening!”

“Running through sprinklers has been a favorite memory since childhood, and to this day, while I’m out on a run, I can’t resist running through one if I spot one in someone’s yard.”

“Being in the “way-back” of the station wagon for a trip to the beach or a long trip out west definitely comes to mind every time summer rolls around.”

“I remember listening every afternoon for the fun, melodic music  of our ice-cream man as he came down our street.”

“A favorite summer memory of mine was staying up late, which back then was 8pm or 9pm, and my brothers and sisters and I would be running around outside catching lightning bugs. To this day, it’s never officially “summer” to me until I see that first lightning bug.”

“When I was little, my mother would put on our bathing suits and let me and my sisters dance around in the summer rain.  Oh, how we loved it!”

“I love having coffee on early summer mornings while sitting outside on the porch swing as the world slowly wakes up.”

“Lemonade just seems like summertime in a glass.”

“Our family gets together every year at our lake house and it’s always the highlight of summer.”

“I remember putting playing cards or baseball cards in the spokes of my bike with clothespins, and then you’d go riding down the street making this wonderful little motor sound.”

“I just love being at the beach in summertime and smelling that salty air and hearing the seagulls—there’s nothing like it.”

“My mother would try to get us down for a nap in the summer afternoons, which was tough for little ones to do, and I remember she’d say, “Listen…to the sounds of summer.” I remember laying there listening to the birds singing and the breezes blowing…it worked!”

We’d love to hear what your favorite memory of summer is, or what you love most about it. Please share them with us, and join us in celebrating all the wonderful summer memories that are yet to be made!

Summer MemoriesSummer MemoriesSummer MemoriesSummer MemoriesSummer MemoriesSummer Memories

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Brighten Someone’s Day!

Brighten Someones Day!

Hello, Blue Mountain Friends,

Well, here we are, knee deep in summer!  Isn’t it wonderful?  Like the fireflies that we caught as children, we can release our happy summertime memories and let them light up our days.  Running through the sprinkler, chasing the ice cream truck, or just hanging out with friends, summer was always an enchanting time.  It’s great to celebrate the big events in our lives, but sometimes it’s fun just to appreciate the magic of ordinary moments.

What little things make your day now?  Enjoying summer pleasures with your children or grandchildren?  Baking a cake that turns out just right?  Discovering that the bunnies didn’t eat your petunias?  Finding your lost glasses on your head?   Hearing from an old friend?

Why not be the old friend who lights up someone’s day with an unexpected card?  Here at Blue Mountain, we’ve created a new line of cards for you called “Brighten Someone’s Day,” because that’s just what they do.  From their fresh and cheery art looks to their warm and engaging words, these cards are designed to build more meaningful connections with the people who matter most to you.

Today is a perfect day to tell your friends how special they are, share a happy memory, send a surprise love note,  show your gratitude, or say “hi” to someone–just because.  We hope you’ll take a moment and choose a card to Brighten Someone’s Day.  You never know how much the smile you send can mean to someone today.

Caroline Leech _ Senior Editor
Brighten Someones Day!

Brighten Someones Day!Brighten Someones Day!Brighten Someones Day!Brighten Someones Day!Brighten Someones Day!Brighten Someones Day!

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Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)

Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)
Now that we’ve discussed the beauty and impact of generosity and thoughtfulness towards one another in “Random Acts of Kindness: Part 1,” let’s see how we can actually put this lovely concept into motion and make it come to life.

There are a few different ways to do this. You can initiate the act. Or you could perform an act in response to a kind act bestowed on you (which is called “paying it forward”). You could do something nice for your friends and family. Or you could do something nice for strangers. But regardless of which way you do it and to whom, the most important thing is that you do it without any expectation of reward. These are totally selfless acts that are certain to bring you immense satisfaction and pleasure.

We also want to emphasize that these acts do NOT necessarily require large sums of money or a lot of effort. Even the smallest gestures—as long as they’re performed sincerely and without an expectation of recognition or acknowledgement —can result in the greatest happiness.

We’d now love to share a few ideas with you for FREE acts of kindness:

  • Smile broadly and genuinely at someone who passes you by.
  • Hold the door (or elevator) open for the person behind you.
  • Let someone who’s in a rush cut ahead of you in line.
  • Visit a nursing home.
  • Give a sincere compliment to someone who looks like they could use one.
  • Share magazines you’ve already read with co-workers, friends, etc.
  • Bring in your neighbor’s trash cans.
  • Share extra produce from your garden with someone in need.
  • Write a letter to someone who has made a difference in your life.
  • Send someone an eCard (like this free one from Blue Mountain) for no special reason at all.

And here are some ideas for LOW-COST acts of kindness:

  • Leave a heftier tip than usual for your waiter or waitress.
  • Bring a meal to someone who just had a baby or other major life event.
  • Buy a candy bar (or magazine subscription, etc.) that a neighbor child is selling for a fundraiser.
  • Bring donuts or other delicious treat to work.
  • Put lots of pennies on the sidewalk for kids to find.
  • Pay for someone’s coffee.
  • Leave your change behind in a vending machine.
  • Buy an extra ticket and take someone to an event (e.g., movie, concert, ball game).
  • Send a care package to a soldier.

And as a small gift from us to you, we’ve designed a FREE printable that you can download today and give to anyone you choose. It includes 6 different cards that you can fill out and leave anonymously. Look at these cards as your chance to make someone’s day just a little bit brighter!

To download these free printable coupons, simply click on the image, and once the new page opens, right click to print or save the image to your computer.

Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)

And if you’re wondering exactly how the friendly folks at Blue Mountain use these printables to show each other we care, here’s how (along with the recipients’ feedback):

Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)

 

 

 

Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)

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Random Acts of Kindness Part I (FREE desktop background)

Random Acts of Kindness Part I (FREE desktop background)
A smile from a stranger…a hug out of nowhere from your child, friend, or family member… a card received in the mail “just because.” These seemingly small gestures aren’t small at all. In fact, they have the power to turn a day completely around, change an outlook, and move the spirit. Science has even shown that being kind can make a real difference in the well-being and health of individuals who practice it and receive it. Another added plus—it’s contagious. Kindness spurs kindness; a single act can influence dozens more.

Random acts of kindness and “paying it forward” have been picking up steam lately
and trending in social media. It may be due to the fact that, while we weren’t looking,
the world took a turn for the worse and seemingly appeared less kind. Children hurting
and bullying children, innocent people gunned-down at the mall, and sweet animals living
at the mercy of cruel hands have all played into this dark cloud sweeping through our daily
lives. Well, take heart—the sun is rising on a new day and the world is picking itself back
up again. People are noticing and making an effort to put kindness back at the top of their list.

While stuck in an elevator, a boy makes a human chair out of himself to allow an elderly lady to sit down while they wait for help…a baseball team adopts a lonely stray pup that wandered onto their field, and made him the team mascot now loved by millions…a stranger pays for a woman’s breakfast “just because he wanted to,”…a wallet is found in the gutter and mailed back to the out-of-town owner… across the nation, people are pulling up to drive-thru windows only to find out that the person before them has already paid for their order. Kindness is catching, and all of us here at Blue Mountain couldn’t be more thrilled because our work is dedicated to helping people connect with others and be lifted up and cared about. You never know what someone else’s struggles may be, and you probably aren’t aware of the immense power your smile and kind words possess, or how your simple gesture can turn a day, or even a life, around. It’s truly magical, and this popular poem is a heartfelt reminder of how one simple act can grow and multiply.

We’d like you to join us in sharing and spreading kindness, so we do hope you will visit us again later this week when we’ll share Part II of this post and give you some ideas (along with some free gifts) of how you can join the kindness journey. Until then, please enjoy this free downloadable wallpaper which is a thoughtful reminder that you have the power within you to make an extraordinary, beautiful difference. To set as your desktop back ground simply click the image, and when the new window appears, right click and choose “set as background.”

Random Acts of Kindness Part I (FREE desktop background)

Anthropologist Margaret Mead once remarked, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” From the kindnesses happening in the world right now, it gladdens our hearts to tell you—she was right.

Random Acts of Kindness Part I (FREE desktop background)Random Acts of Kindness Part I (FREE desktop background)Random Acts of Kindness Part I (FREE desktop background)Random Acts of Kindness Part I (FREE desktop background)Random Acts of Kindness Part I (FREE desktop background)Random Acts of Kindness Part I (FREE desktop background)

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Gratitude Guide for Mom: How to say Thank You and Show Mom your Gratitude

Gratitude Guide for Mom: How to say Thank You and Show Mom your Gratitude

Happy Mother’s Day – Those three little words are loaded with so much meaning that there’s no possible way to fit all the things that make up those words into a single day. Yet, we try our best to give tokens of love to our moms with the hope that even just an ounce of what we feel is communicated to them.

So, how do you begin to show your gratitude for all she’s done and continues to do? We’ve compiled a Gratitude Guide with some ideas and inspiration to help you. Keep in mind that, when it comes down to it, most mothers would agree that your time is more wanted than things; your validation of who they are, more precious than gold…

List of Gratitudes
A daughter wrote a letter to her 80 year old mother, telling her how thankful she was for all the things her mother did for her while she was growing up. Her mother said it was the best Mother’s Day gift she ever received, and wants it to be included in her eulogy. Click Hereto read Faye’s letter to her mother…and maybe grab a tissue. If you would like to do something like this, you can use our Blue Mountain printable stationery as a beautiful backdrop for this gift she’ll cherish.

Sing it
Do you have musical talent? Write your mom a song and sing it to her, or record it for her so she can listen to it over and over again.

Dedicate a song on the radio
If singing isn’t your thing, call up her favorite radio station and see if they’ll dedicate a song to her at a time she’s probably listening.

A box of 52 of your favorite memories about your mom
Find or make or your own decorative box and write down 52 of your best-loved memories about your mom. She’ll get to read one each week over the next year.

Garden walk treasures
Go on a garden walk with Mom and collect leaves, petals, and anything that catches your eye. Back at Mom’s house, create a window display of your treasures reminding her of your enjoyable afternoon together.

Record a personalized ringtone for her cell phone.
Give her a heart a tug every time her cell phone rings. Record a special ringtone of all the kids/grandkids yelling, ‘We love you Mom/Grandma!”

Jewelry with meaning
Give her vintage map jewelry of the state/country where you grew up, her favorite bible verse, or a much-loved passage from a favorite book 
or poem.

A Now and Then Photo
Frame a photo of you and Mom from when you were still a baby and she was a young mom, and one of the two of you now.

Take a class together.
If you live close to your mother, take a class together of something she always wanted to do like sewing, painting, cooking, etc. Not only will it be a fun experience, but the time spent together is priceless.

Mother’s Day Photo Magnet
All moms have them—photos covering the refrigerator of all their children and grandchildren. This is a wonderful idea that can turn a photo of each person she loves into a magnet itself. You can make one of every child and grandchild. Once you’ve made the magnets, post them to her refrigerator with notes from each person on the magnet about what they love about her so she’s reminded every single day what an amazing woman she is and how she’s touched their lives.

Make a recurring appointment for a phone call with Mom each week. Plus, if you have siblings, assign each one a different day of the week to call Mom so she hears from her children regularly.

Tell Mom what you learned from her example.
This popular poem by Mary Rita Schilke Korzan is a wonderful way to honor mom and has been shared in many forms time and time again.

One of our Blue Mountain editors has created a Pinterest Board for many of the ideas you’ve read about in our blog today, and we also invite you to use our Mother’s Day eCards to help celebrate your wonderful moms.

All of us at Blue Mountain wish you and your mom a Mother’s Day to remember!

Gratitude Guide for Mom: How to say Thank You and Show Mom your GratitudeGratitude Guide for Mom: How to say Thank You and Show Mom your GratitudeGratitude Guide for Mom: How to say Thank You and Show Mom your GratitudeGratitude Guide for Mom: How to say Thank You and Show Mom your GratitudeGratitude Guide for Mom: How to say Thank You and Show Mom your GratitudeGratitude Guide for Mom: How to say Thank You and Show Mom your Gratitude

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Mother’s Day Gifts: Then & Now

We invite you to travel down memory lane with us as we showcase some then-and-now Mother’s Day gifts in the chart below. We bet you’ll nod your head in agreement and even enjoy a few laughs as you compare what a typical gift was “back then” to what it would be today. You may even pick up a few gift-giving or -getting ideas yourself.

Mothers Day Gifts: Then & Now

 

My, how times have changed! Don’t you agree that the gifts we used to give our moms decades ago for Mother’s Day look quite a bit different than the ones moms (or grandmas or maternal figures) are getting today?

Granted, technology, convenience, and just the natural progression of life have had a lot to do with this. But we’re sure everyone agrees that the one and only intent behind the gifts has constantly remained—and will always continue to remain—the same: to show our love and gratitude to an amazing woman who is raising a child.

We invite you to “share” this blog post with friends and family, too. We bet they’ll love it! And if you have other gift ideas that you think have made big changes over the years, feel free to leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

Mothers Day Gifts: Then & NowMothers Day Gifts: Then & NowMothers Day Gifts: Then & NowMothers Day Gifts: Then & NowMothers Day Gifts: Then & NowMothers Day Gifts: Then & Now

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Renewing Connections with Family (part II)

Renewing Connections with Family (part II)
In our previous post, we talked about ways to reignite friendships that may have gone by the wayside. In this, our second post focused on renewing connections, we’d like to share some ideas around connecting with family members. It’s so easy these days to let time get away from us until we realize that it’s been weeks, or even months, since we last chatted with, or spent time with, our own family. Especially this past winter, when we were all burrowed in our houses and not going out for days at a time.  Well, spring is now upon us and it’s the perfect time for getting back some of that quality time that old man winter stole from us. To get you started, we’ve compiled a few simple ideas you might like to try.

Breaking the ice.
If there are some family members you haven’t connected with in a while, don’t let it overwhelm you. Pick one, and then reach out with a phone call, send an email or an ecard, or write and send a personal note. You don’t have to say a lot, you can simply tell them, “I miss you,” “I’ve been thinking of you,” or even, “How ‘bout that winter? Would love to catch up with you soon.”  To help make it easy for you, we’ve got many eCards and printable cards at bluemountain.com that will bring a smile to the face of anyone you send them to. If you’d like to write your own message, you can use our online stationery, too. Don’t forget that Mother’s Day is just a few short weeks away, so it’s the perfect time to schedule an eCard, write a special letter, or make a phone call to make plans with your mom, grandmother, sister, aunt, or cousin and share in their special day.  No matter which way you choose to connect with your family, the thoughtful act of reaching out is the first step.

Get back to basics.
Put down the smartphones, tablets, and remotes and pick up the family photo albums and boxes of slides that sit on the shelves anxiously waiting to be dusted off and admired again.  Kids love looking at photos of themselves when they were little, and of their parents and grandparents. Grownups, too, love to reminisce and remember places and faces. Pop the popcorn and enjoy sharing stories and memories that make up your family history.

Exercise.
Ahh, spring—no one can get enough of the sweet-smelling air and warmth of the sun, which makes it the perfect excuse to grab a family member or two and get outside. Gather them together and suggest a walk on the park trail or around the neighborhood. Not only will you get exercise, but you’ll have a chance to catch up with each other, too.

“Let’s do lunch.”
This one is easy to say, but oh, how those good intentions are so hard to follow-through on. And it doesn’t even have to be “lunch” per se. The idea is to create a “structured connection”—something you’ll do on a regular basis. So, you may want to schedule brunch with Mom and Dad for every Sunday, or make the last Friday of every month, “Shopping with Aunt Meg Day.”  If you give this a try, then you’ll see all those good intentions come to beautiful fruition.

Whether you give these simple ideas a try, or come up with a few of your own ideas, all of us here at Blue Mountain hope that the spring season inspires you to open up, reach out, and love deeply.

Renewing Connections with Family (part II)Renewing Connections with Family (part II)Renewing Connections with Family (part II)Renewing Connections with Family (part II)Renewing Connections with Family (part II)Renewing Connections with Family (part II)