Complaining

Complaining can make us feel better by allowing us to vent and it can help us identify a problem area in our life, but that is about as far as it goes.    Additional action is going to be necessary and that can feel over whelming which is why some spend more time on the complaining part and less on the doing.   Anyway,  once you know what it is that is making you complain, formulate a plan of action. Don’t be afraid to ask for input from others, because the information and insight you get, the better your plan can be. Also, keep in mind that even if your plan won’t totally fix your issue, (but let’s hope it will)  it can be a boost to your spirits because you will be actually making an effort to turn something you complain about into something that makes you happy, or at least less prone to complain about.  🙂

The Meaning of Psalm 23

Psalm 23 is probably one of the most widely quoted verses of Old Testament Scripture.  Recently, I received this nice email that has explained what the Psalm means and I thought I would share it with you.  You, of course, are free to agree or disagree with the explanation, but hopefully, it will be of benefit to someone.  🙂

The Lord is my shepherd (Relationship)

(relationship: connection, bond, association, mutual dealing)

I shall not be in want (Supply)

(supply: to furnish what is lacking, to satisfy, to provide)

He makes me lie down in green pastures (Rest)

(rest: relief or freedom from what wearies, troubles or disturbs; a refreshing ease or quiet)

He leads me beside quiet waters (Refreshment)

(refreshment: to provide new vigor and energy by rest, food, etc, ; to revive, to be restorative.)

He restores my soul (Healing)

(healing: to mend, to cure, to gain health; to make whole and healthy; to be free from ailments).

He guides me in paths of righteousness (Guidance)

(guidance: leadership, direction, advice, supervised council)

For his names sake (Purpose)

(purpose: the reason for which something exists; an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal. )

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Testing)

(testing: to determine the quality of something; the means by which the presence, quality, or genuineness of anything is determined; )

I will fear no evil (Protection)

(protection: to defend, shelter or guard from attack; )

For you are with me (Faithfulness)

(faithfulness: steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant;, reliable; true to one’s word.)

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Discipline)

(discipline: to train to act in accordance with a set of rules; to develop a set of skills; to improve or correct behavior by training.)

You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies (Hope)

(hope: a confident expectation; a trusting expectation of a favorable outcome).

You anoint my head with oil (Consecration)

(consecration: to dedicate to a sacred purpose; to set apart for a holy use.)

My cup overflows (Abundance)

(abundance: a great or plentiful amount; an overflowing or over sufficient amount).

Surely goodness and love will follow me for all of my days (Blessing)

(blessing: God’s favor to a person; God’s approval)

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord (Security)

(security: to be free from danger or injury; to be free from harm.)

Forever (Eternity)

(eternity: a limitless, time, without interruption.)

SpongeBob Life Lessons Part Two!

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Poster Souce: wall_posterity ( Ebay)

Well, here it is, the second (and last) part of the SpongeBob Life Lessons article.

Nature Pants (Season 1; Episode 9)

When SpongeBob decides that he wants to give up his current life and go life with the jellyfis, he gives away all his worldly possessions to his friends and heads out to live among his jellyfish brethren. His friends think his choice is a mistake and try to talk him out of it, but he refuses to listen. Non one believes he will have the ability to remain with the jelly fish for a long period of time, Squidward says that he will last about 11 minutes before realizing his mistake. As it turns out, his friends are right; the jelly fish aren’t all that welcoming to him and Patrick misses him so much that he actually tries to catch him and bring him back home, but still he refuses to give up his dream. But, it doesn’t take too long for SpongeBob to realize that just maybe he made a mistake after all. Will his friends take him back…will they give back all his stuff… I think you know the answer to that.

Let’s take a look at some of the lessons from this episode.

1) Some Ideas Really Are Just Bad Ideas
SpongeBob thought that living among the jelly fish was going to be a fun adventure, but when he tried it,  it wasn’t what he thought it would be.  Sometimes we get ideas that sound great in the planning stage, but when we put into practical use, are nothing at all like they were intended to be. That is not to say that all ideas will fail and not work, that would be a silly thing to say, but there are times when good ideas fail. But, the good news is that there is value in things failing, as it teaches us to look for alternative solutions. Thomas Edison had to try 1,000 times before he found the correct way to make a light bulb…each wrong try taught him that he had to try something else and he did so until he found the correct combination. So, even failure has valuable lessons to teach.

2) Trying New Things And Appreciating What We Already Have
Wanting to try something new and different is fine. Experiencing new things is how we gain knowledge about ourselves and the world around us. SpongeBob found out that the life he had was pretty good and the life of a jellyfish didn’t work so well for him. He learned to appreciate the life he had given up.  The life of a jellyfish is fine for a jellyfish, but not so much for a sponge.

3) Everyone Has a Right To Make Their Own Choices
We can’t make someone act or think the way we want them too. Patrick learned this when he tried to catch SpongeBob and bring him back home against his will. SpongeBob kept running and hiding from Patrick because he simply did not want to go back to his old life. Patrick realized that if SpongeBob was to come back home, it had to be by his own choice.

4) Sometimes our Friends Are Right!!!
It’s is not just experts we can learn things from, sometimes our friends can have a better and clearer view of a situation than we do. Even though his friends were against his idea from the start and tried to talk some sense to him, SpongeBob was determined that he knew best. We all will have experiences like this, wanting to do something that our friends and or family will think foolish or unwise.  It is probably a good idea to take their concerns seriously and examine them; are they coming from a merely emotional reaction or is there some solid basis for their concern. When you have to make a choice, such as changing your way of life like SpongeBob attempted, it’s good to look at as many points of view as possible. Our enthusiasm and excitement can sometimes blind us to the less than ideal aspects of our plans.

5) It’s Okay to Make Mistakes
During our lifetime we are going to make many mistakes and it is fine to admit that we were wrong or made a wrong choice. In SpongeBob’s case, he learned he wasn’t cut out for life as a member of the jellyfish clan, but even more importantly, he discovered he had friends who loved him and missed him and welcomed him back with open arms.

Graveyard Shift (Season 2; Episode 36)

To Squidward’s dismay and SpongeBob’s delight, Mr. Krabs announces that the Krusty Krab will remain open for 24 hours a day. The graveyard shift as it’s called, passes slowly. To liven it up a bit Squidward discovers that SpongeBob is afraid to take the trash to the dumpster because it’s dark out side. This gives him the great idea to create the story of the “Hash Slinging Slasher”, a former fry cook at the Krusty Krab who while making Krabby patties accidentally cut off his hand and then replaced it with a rusty spatula. Things go from bad to worse, when the fry cook is then run down by a bus, and finally gets fired at his funeral. But that’s not all, every Tuesday he returns to the Krusty Krab looking for revenge. There are three signs to look for that note his impending return, the lights will flicker on and off, the phone will ring and when answered no one will be there and finally, the Slasher arrives on the ghost of the bus that ran him down. Of course, even Squidward gets scared when the signs of the Slasher’s coming begin to happen, the lights flicker, the phone rings and finally a bus pulls up out front of the Krusty Krab and one passenger steps off! Oh no!! It’s the Hash Slinging Slasher and he had returned for his revenge—naw, not really, as it turns out it’s merely a kid who wants to work at the Krusty Krab who brought his own spatula and who had called earlier but lost his nerve at the last minute.

Let’s look at some of the lessons in this episode.

1) Having to Do Unpleasant Things

At times in our lives, we all have to do things we don’t want to do as Squidward discovered with having to work the graveyard shift, and SpongeBob having to take trash to the dumpster at night. But that is all a part of being a responsible person whether you are an adult or a kid. Sometimes those things we don’t want to do are based on insecurities, like with SpongeBob; he didn’t mind taking the garbage to the dumpster, he was simply afraid of the dark, but, he found the courage to face his fears and accomplished his goal. Squidward, on the other hand, didn’t want to work because he wanted to be off doing something else that’s more fun like playing his clarinet or painting another self portrait.

2) Not Everything We Are Told Is True

We can’t believe everything we are told. Squidward told a wild untrue story to SpongeBob and presented it as the truth.  In life, we will meet people who will lie to us for one reason or another. If you are ever faced with a story that you think might be made up, don’t be afraid to investigate it further.

3) Getting Caught Up In Our Own Lies

Squidward thought that idea of scaring SpongeBob with the Hash Slinging Slasher story was hilarious. But, it turned out to be not so funny when it appeared as thought the story was true. That happens in life, we tell a lie for whatever reason, and then end up getting caught up in that lie, maybe having to tell more lies to cover up previous lies…whew…it sure can be a tangled web for sure.

Sailor Mouth (Season 2; Episode 38)

 True sophisticates like SpongeBob and Patrick would never allow their lips to be stained by using curse words, or so we are led to believe. One day, SpongeBob, while reading “dumpster writing; the voice of the people”, comes across a word he doesn’t understand in a sentence about Mr. Krabs. Patrick tells him that the word is a “sentence enhancer” and is used when people want to talk fancy. One merely peppers your conversation with these enhancers and end up having a “spicy sentence sandwich”. The boys then proceed to use the word (blocked out by dolphin chirps, and other noises) until Mr. Krabs tells them it is a bad word, one of thirteen that should never be used.

The lessons this episode taught me.

1) People Can Be Mean

People can say and write some mean nasty things about other people. SpongeBob discovered this when he saw a not so nice piece of graffiti written on the dumpster about Mr. Krabbs.

2) When In Doubt, Find Out!

There are always going to be things we don’t understand as SpongeBob discovered when he saw those bad words written on the dumpster. When faced with something that puzzles us, it is best to seek out someone who is knowledgeable and can answer our questions like our parents or a teacher. We can also go to the library and look up the information or even go a Google search.

3) Sometimes People Haven’t a Clue As To What They Are Talking About!

We can also find ourselves being unintentionally misled. Patrick honestly believed he was telling SpongeBob the truth about what sentence enhancers were. He didn’t intentionally lie to SpongeBob, but he did give him the wrong information. This lesson ties in with lesson two.

 Just One Bite: (Season 3; Episode 43)

Is it possible that the reason our favorite octopus, Squidward, is so unhappy and grouchy, be the fact that in all the years he has worked at the Krusty Krab, he has never once tasted a Krabby Patty? That is the conclusion that our favorite sponge comes too, so, he decides to make it his mission to get Squidward to just take one bite of a patty. Realizing if he doesn’t, SpongeBob won’t ever leave him alone, he takes a bite and hates it! But, wait, there is trickery afoot, as it turns out, that one bite has made Squidward a Krabby Patty fan…. all those wasted years!! Now, the fun really begins as he schemes to get his tentacles on a patty without SpongeBob finding out. He ends up sneaking into the Krusty Krabb early one morning to finally get a chance to enjoy a patty in peace and discovers that SpongeBob is there, so he locks himself in the patty vault and eats all the patties, only to have his thighs gain a huge amount of weight and..explode, in a comical way of course, nothing gruesome there.

The lessons from this episode.

1) Don’t Judge By Appearances

We can go through life being for or against something without ever having any practical experience with it. Squidward hated Krabby Patties, but he had NEVER tried one. Somethings might look good or bad from appearances, but we sometimes have to dig a little deeper before making a judgment for or against.

2) Getting Rid of the Old Beliefs Makes Room For the New

It is okay to change our mind about a thing or situation once we have gained new information that supports that change. We don’t have to hold onto old outdated beliefs that no longer do us any good and simply don’t fit our personality.

3) It’s Okay To Have Our Own Likes and Dislikes

At first, SpongeBob found it difficult to believe that there could be someone out there who didn’t love Krabby Patties, as he viewed them as an absolute good. So, he spent time trying to get Squidward to try them.  After much effort, SpongeBob finally accepted that it was perfectly fine for Squidward to have his own opinions about the Krabby Patty. Even though SpongeBob wasn’t trying to be mean or to step on Squid’s right to say no, he did go overboard in his attempt to change his mind. As we go through life we meet lots of people and there might be one or two who think like SpongeBob did in this episode; that their opinion or admiration for a particular thing should be shared by all. None of us share the exact same views on everything and Squid was no different in this sense. He exerted his personal sovereignty which is one of those big fancy words that means he was his own boss in the matter and didn’t have to give in to outside control namely Sponge’s attempts to get him to try a taste of the patty.

4) Fear Can Make Us Do Silly Things

When Squidward discovered he loved Krabby Patties, he didn’t’ share this with SpongeBob because he was afraid of how he would react. Fear can cause us to do some strange things, like lock ourselves in a Krabby Patty vault and over eat till our thighs blow up… but seriously, while fear can be a good thing in that it motivates us to take a serious look at a potentially dangerous or negative situation, it can also prevent us from forming friendships and opening up to those around us. SpongeBob and Squidward could have shared a Krabby Patty lunch and gained a pleasant memory to be relieved at a later time.

4) Overeating Can Be Dangerous

Over eating can be dangerous. Squidward locked himself into the patty vault and ate so many Krabby patties, his thighs exploded. Of course this was meant to be humorous, but it is true that over eating can be dangerous to our health. It’s great to have a favorite food, but just take it easy and don’t over do it.

 The Splinter (Season 6; Episode 105)

The Splinter (Episode 105) One day at work, SpongeBob manages to get his spatula stuck in the ceiling of the kitchen at the Krusty Krab. (I’m telling ya, SpongeBob is one talented little sponge!) Piling boxes and jars of mayonnaise on top of each other, he manages to get high enough to get the spatula free only to lose his balance and fall causing the boxes and jars to spill their contents. But, you know luck is usually on his side and he manages to land safely. It’s only when he takes a step and slips on the spilled mayonnaise that he ends up getting a nasty splinter in his thumb off the hardwood floor. He tries all kinds of ways to get it out, but only manages to make things worse. When Squidward finds out, he tells him that Mr. Krabs will send him home early, a thought which terrifies poor SpongeBob, because you and I know how much he loves working at the Krusty Krab. He finally breaks down and calls his best friend Dr. Patrick (we know this is trouble even before Patrick gets there, huh?) for help. Patrick only succeeds in getting the splinter stuck deeper into his thumb AND it is now beginning to show signs of infection. When Mr. Krabs finds out, it’s with ease that he pulls the splinter free. SpongeBob is now on the mend and can stay at work flipping his beloved Krabby Patties.

The lessons I learned from this episode

1) Falling Hurts
That comes as no surprise, right. SpongeBob took a really big risk when he stacked up boxes and bottles one atop the other in a make shift ladder, so he could retrieve his spatula that he had accidentally stuck in the ceiling. He lost his balance and came tumbling down only to have a huge splinter embed itself in his thumb. Ouch!

2) That Darn Fear Factor, Again
SpongeBob’s fear of being sent home early made him decide to hide his injury from Mr. Krabbs. Instead of seeking real medical attention, he sought help from his best buddy, Patrick, who tried all kinds of remedies which only made things worse instead of better. The splinter became infected and hurt more than ever. And though it might not sound like much, an infected finger could lead to much more serious health issues.

3) Taking Risks Isn’t Necessarily A Bad Thing
While it is easy to see that SpongeBob’s risk on his makeshift ladder didn’t pan out too well, that is not to say that all risk taking is bad or wrong or will lead to failure or harm. Life is full of risks, but there are things we can do to minimize the dangers involved. A plan of action carefully conceived can lead to wonderful discoveries or the ability to get our spatula dislodged from the ceiling without getting a nasty splinter in our finger.

4) Sometimes People Use Our Own Fears Against Us
It almost appears as though Squidward found some sense of joy or pleasure in threatening to tell Mr. Krabbs about SpongeBob’s splinter. He knew that this was our little sponge’s biggest fear…. to be sent home from work. In real life there are people who do the same kinds of things, they discover what you fear the most and try to use that to their advantage, it’s a sort of emotional black mail. Fighting back against this kind of thing can be tough to do, especially in this scenario since SpongeBob has always considered Squidward his friend (no matter how many times he was told otherwise). In this case the right thing would have been for SpongeBob to have told Mr. Krabbs about his injury, no matter how frightened he was of the outcome.

© 2014-2017 Glory Miller All Rights Reserved

SpongeBob SquarePants Life Lessons

Photo source: wailu.us2013 (Ebay)

Photo source: wailu.us2013 (Ebay)

A few years back, I used to write at a place called Squidoo which has since closed its doors.  Before it closed down, I was sure to save all my work,  packed it away with the idea that I might want to publish it again at some point in time.  So, since I need some “meat” here on this blog, I thought I would share with you that old article about the life lessons that the cartoon series SpongeBob SquarePants offers viewers of all ages.  In this old article,  I use just a few of my favorite episodes of the series, giving a brief plot synopsis and then offering up the lessons that I got from the episode.  Of course, life lessons are subjective and what I got out of the episode might be totally different than what someone else got.

So, here is just part of the article , I think there is enough material here for a two part series.  We will just have to see what time brings.  🙂

Bubble Stand (Season 1, Episode 2)

In this episode SpongeBob builds a bubble blowing stand in front of his pineapple home and plans to open a bubble blowing business.  He intends to charge each customer one quarter to blow bubbles. Of course, next door neighbor, Squidward, thinks the idea is silly and wonders who in their right mind would pay to blow bubbles. Well, as luck would have it, the first customer is Patrick, who, on a borrowed quarter from SpongeBob, attempts to blow bubbles, only to discover he is “bubblily challenged”. This inspires SpongeBob to offer up a bubble blowing lessons for just one quarter per lesson and Patrick is happy to partake of the lesson (having to use another borrowed quarter from SpongeBob). The secret to blowing good bubbles goes like this; “first go like this, spin around. Stop! Double take three times. One, two three. Then pelvic thrust. Whooooooo, whooooooo. Stop on your right foot, don’t forget it! Now it’s time to bring it around town. Bring-it-a-round-town. Then you do this, then this, and this, then this, then that, then this and that, and then” you proceed to blow wondrous bubbles of all shapes and sizes like boat bubbles, and elephant bubbles and duck bubbles using this tried and true SpongeBob technique. Of course, Squidward gets into the act after one of SpongeBob’s bubbles floats into his Tiki house and promptly pops. Going outside he eventually attempts to blow a bubble only to discover he is as challenged at it as Patrick was. But, with a little help from SpongeBob’s technique he manages to blow a giant round bubble and discovers that bubble blowing isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Lets take a look at some of the lessons from this episode.

1) Different Strokes For Different Folks
Fun comes to different people in different ways. What appears to be childish or silly to one person might not appear that way to another. I for one love the idea of blowing bubbles. Squidward, of course, would look at me kinda funny if he was here I am sure. The point is to not lose sight of the kid in all of us. How many of the problems in this world, be it emotional, mental, physical could be eased or maybe even eliminated if more people took time out to be silly. It is said that laughter is the best medicine.

In the real world we have hot dog stands, lemonade stands, news stands, so why not a bubble blowing stand. I wonder how much fun people would have, if someone actually (and maybe they have) set up such a stand in a busy place, like a street corner or maybe a city park? If you happened upon a stand like that, would you take the time to blow a few bubbles?

2) Life Is Full Of Opportunities
Opportunities can present themselves in different ways. For one thing, SpongeBob decided to open his own business providing the service of bubble blowing. When he realized that his customers (Patrick and Squidward) were lacking in skills necessary to blow bubbles, he saw another chance to earn more money by offering bubble blowing lessons. During our life time, we will see many places where there are voids that need to be filled. Maybe we can fill some of those by becoming an entrepreneur like SpongeBob in this episode, and offering our services for a price. But, there are other places that have voids that simply require our time and effort. Maybe in your community the local food bank is in need of donations, so you could start a food drive, or maybe there are abused, neglected and abandoned animals that need a second chance at a happy home and some form of animal sheltering is needed, or maybe there are homeless or hungry people in your community who need a hand up. The point is, life holds many voids, many areas of lack that can be filled either through a business or charitable activities. Granted, you might not up end saving the world, and your work might be small in size, but just think, if you got a lot of people offering a little bit of help, that sure can add up over time. If you are a charity and you need $1,000, it is sometimes a lot easier to get 100 people to donate $10 each than it is to get one person to donate $1,000. “Never underestimate the power of “small”.   Little and often make much.

3) Just Because You Can’t Blow Bubbles, Doesn’t Mean It Has to Be That Way Forever
When Patrick discovered he couldn’t blow bubbles, he was willing to learn how and took lessons from SpongeBob.   Just because we find that we can’t perform a certain task at all or as well as we would like, it doesn’t mean that it has to be that way forever.    We have the options of finding ways to improve our skills–we can read a book, watch a video,  or even take lessons like Patrick did.

4) Solution Oriented
SpongeBob was solution oriented in his outlook. When he discovered that some were not able to blow great bubbles, he didn’t simply throw up his hands and shrug his shoulders and say, “well, that’s the way it goes” and then went on about his business. No, indeed, he realized he had a skill to offer and was willing to teach others how to blow great bubbles. He saw a “negative” situation (people who wanted to blow bubbles, but lacked the skill) and he was able to offer up a solution to their problem.  Solutions don’t always have to be complicated and convoluted.  Sometimes simple is the best way to proceed.

MuscleBob BuffPants (Season 1; Episode 11)

MuscleBob BuffPants Ok, so it’s safe to say that SpongeBob is never going to be a world class weight lifter, but when he tries to follow Sandy’s exercise routine and his arms keep falling off…something has to be done. Watching TV, he sees an ad for “Anchor Arms”, inflatable rubber arms that fit over your own  like gloves and by adding air, they grow to incredible sizes, like, “normal, meaty and hairy for the ladies”. SpongeBob immediately orders a pair and when they arrive he can hardly wait to try them out. When folks see him they are amazed at the changes and Sandy invites him to take part in an anchor toss. Of course, you know that things aren’t going to go well for our little sponge, when it comes time for him to toss his anchor, the air in his arms begin to inflate different parts of his body..his teeth, his eyes, his butt, well you get the picture, till finally the pressure becomes to much and they explode.

Let’s look at some of the lessons that this episode teaches me.

1) Be Proud of Who You Are
This is a valuable reminder for us all to be proud of who we really are and to do our very best according to our true abilities. Each one of us is unique (just like everyone else, eh) and as such we need to find our true “strength” in the basis of our uniqueness. There is a saying that goes, “spend your time being a first rate you, and not a second rate someone else” and this seems to fit so well here.

2) No Easy Way To Reach A Goal
There is simply no easy way to reach a goal. Sandy and Larry the Lobster are able to lift and toss heavy anchors, because they have exercised and strengthened their bodies. There is no quick way to get physically strong like Sandy or Larry, that is something that takes time, eating right and exercising.

Any goal that we have in life requires real effort; most of the things we want are not going to be handed to us on a silver platter. If we want a new car, a different job, a bigger bank account, a new house, or whatever, it requires thought, planning, effort, research, etc. There are no quick fixes in life, accomplishing a goal takes time.

3) What You See Isn’t Always What You Get
In this case, Anchor Arms promised SpongeBob that he would look big and strong, and he certainly did at that, but when he tried to participate in the anchor tossing contest he simply couldn’t do it. Those big fake muscles did absolutely nothing in helping him have the strength necessary to accomplish his goal. In the end, they were simply filled with nothing but hot air. People, politicians, civic leaders, companies, our friends, and even family members can tell us things that sound really good, but on closer examination we discover they are lies. The concept of Anchor Arms, with it’s huge muscles, made it appear on the outside that SpongeBob would have tremendous strength, but when he really needed to use them to lift the anchors, he couldn’t do it. Appearances can be deceiving.

4) Misplaced Confidence
SpongeBob at first realized that his Anchor Arms were simply full of hot air and he didn’t want to participate in the anchor toss. But, there came a point, when he was in front of the crowd getting ready to take his turn, the he actually believed that if he inflated the arms to their maximum size, that he could pick up the anchor and throw it the way Sandy and Larry did during their turns. Of course, it didn’t end well for our favorite little sponge. Unfortunately, SpongeBob’s confidence was misplaced, as his arms exploded under the strain of trying to lift such a heavy item. That happens in life, too, at times we can be very aware that a thing (even a person, sadly) is not worthy of our confidence, but yet we want to think the best, we want to be proven wrong in our assumptions. Happily sometimes we are pleasantly surprised and other times…not.

5) Lying Can Get You Into Situations You Don’t Want To Be In
When Sandy saw how huge SpongeBob’s muscles were, she was so impressed that she signed him up for the anchor toss, even though he didn’t really want to take part. If he had been honest with Sandy from the start, he wouldn’t have had to humiliate himself in front of all of those people when his arms simply exploded.  But, of course, we wouldn’t have had such a fun episodes to watch.  🙂

6) Giving Our Best Effort
Even though SpongeBob knew deep down inside that his arms were just for show and offered no real improvement in his physical strength, when faced with taking his turn to toss the anchor, he decided that he would give it his best effort.

© 2016 Glory Miller