Archive for the ‘Family Ties’ category

5 Tips for Keeping Your Holiday Spirits Bright

December 11th, 2012

We tend to react to familiar situation in familiar ways.  That’s clearly true any time we find ourselves back in a familiar situation – like celebrating a holiday with our family of origin or our in-laws.

Without thinking, old ingrained patterns of behavior kick in.  When the pattern is constructive, the gathering tends to feel like the blessing and celebration of life it’s intended to be.  But, when there is stress and strain in relationships, what could be a joyful time is marred by negativity.

So, if you’re thinking about how you can avoid family dysfunction this holiday season, look no further.  Here are 5 tips for that will help you keep your holiday spirits bright.

1) Make conscious choices about how you react.  If your experience of holiday gatherings is less than peaceful and enjoyable, this year instead of interacting and responding like you usually do to the stressors, make a conscious choice to do all you can to make the gathering you’re part of a positive experience – for yourself and everyone else.

At every turn, when old, familiar negative thoughts and reactions well up, ready to burst forth, before you respond, take a deep breath and remember your decision – your conscious choice – to do all you can to add peace and enjoyment to the gathering.

 2) Set boundaries and share them.  Setting boundaries is not easy.   Your decision impacts others in the family or social group.  It’s helpful to tell them, in advance, that cousin Robin will not be with us this year.  Or what the new house rules are:  a no shoes policy, no smoking in the house or no gifts.  Giving your guests early notice about changes to traditions provides them an opportunity to get used to the idea or to decide they’d rather not join you this year.

When you set boundaries, the dynamics of the relationships may also change.  Be ready to hear and accept other’s reactions.  You don’t have to argue the point, agree, disagree or feel pressured to alter your decision.  Simply acknowledge that you hear and understand how they feel.   Then, be patient as everyone, including you, adjusts to the changes.

3) Remove yourself from caustic situations. If you experience the behavior of another as unkind, abusive or disrespectful, don’t hesitate to remove yourself from the environment.

Go to another room.  Take a walk.  Sit in your car.  Drive around the block.  If need be, excuse yourself from attending the gathering and find another time to connect with everyone.

 4) Wait 2 minutes before responding to anything that infuriates you.  This is a good practice in any situation.  Reflex responses are often defensive and tend to escalate tensions, anxiety or anger.  Take a few deep breaths.  Go get a drink of water. Stand outside.  Do something to clear your mind and allow your breathing to return to normal . . . a sign that you – the grown up, rational you – is back in control.

When you rejoin the setting, since the moment of tension has probably passed, no comment may be necessary.  But, if you feel compelled to say something, remember the conscious choice you made to do all you can to add peace and enjoyment to the gathering.  Respond with that in mind.

5) Use their actions as lessons on how NOT to be.  Family and loved ones offer us a great opportunity to learn about ourselves and the limits we place on our willingness and capacity to demonstrate compassion and love.

Accept your family and friends as they are.  Many holiday fights and frustrations come about because we want our loved ones to be different than they are.  We CANNOT control how others behave so don’t even try.

Remember, at the heart of every individual and family is a real need for love and acceptance.  This holiday season, and every day, consciously decide to bring love, peace, compassion, acceptance and enjoyment to life – yours and everyone around you.

Happy Holiday!

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Guest Blog: Why I Journal

August 21st, 2012

By Linda Tabach

Linda Tabach

Linda Tabach

Linda Tabach writes and blogs about health, fitness and wellness at  She is training to become a health coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is looking forward to helping others reach their wellness goals through balanced living.

I began journaling with a computer document at the end of 2008 and I just finished at the end of July when it hit 762 pages. The document was taking too long to load in my computer, so I decided to begin anew. The blank white screen on a fresh journal inspires me to fill the pages.

At first my journaling was a way to chronicle events that were taking place in my life, but I quickly found that as I wrote I was able to express emotions, develop ideas, process conflicts, analyze dreams, and be creative. As I rush through my busy days, with thoughts continually racing through my head, I have little time to do any of those things, but at the end of the day when I can sit at my desk to relax, the words flow freely.

I enjoy journaling on the computer because my handwriting can’t keep up with my thoughts, but I know of others who handwrite in their journals. Still others draw or use photos to express their thoughts and feelings in their journals. Keeping my journal on the computer has the added benefit of allowing me to search for entries which I find helpful when I want to go back and revisit an event or remind myself of how I accomplished a difficult task or resolved a conflict.

I also journal in my head while I run. Long distance running is the perfect time for me to process thoughts and ideas, and when I get home I type them up. I frequently write lengthy emails to friends and family and I will add these to my journal as well, along with emails I receive.

During the last couple of years, blogging has also been a form of journaling for me, one in which I can share my thoughts with whoever finds me and cares to read. I connect with others through my blog, and I can choose to share journal entries with them. The blogging community encourages a sense of unity and belonging through the exchange of journal entries.

It is difficult to balance all of the important aspects of my life – family, friends, career, spiritual growth, exercise – and journaling allows me to see where I need to focus my efforts at any given time. I allow myself time every day to reflect; I consider this an essential element of my self care.

 If you enjoy handwriting journal entries, you can order a “Journal Your Truth” notebook from Spirit of Purpose.


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How to Hear Your Own Voice Among the Many Others In Your Head

April 17th, 2012

We live with so many voices in our heads.  They are voices of people who we know and trust – family, caregivers, teachers, friends, co-workers and bosses.  And there are real and imagined voices of people we don’t know or like, and intellectually we know we shouldn’t pay them any attention.  These are voices of the media, our work nemesis or even that person in the supermarket who we thought looked at us funny.

People often ask me about tools and techniques to help them connect with and hear their own authentic voice versus the cacophony of others.  When the advice and guidance from others gets in the way of a decision you’re trying to make or a situation you desperately need to change, intentional reflection and conscious choice are tremendous tools to enhance your level of self-awareness.  Many wouldn’t even recognize their own voice among the others, so the first step is tuning into your core essence, unique your reason for being.

The five steps below will provide the clarity and strength to move you toward a real relationship with your core essence – your authentic self.  Using intentional reflection and conscious choice together, consistently, will result in transformational change.

This process comes right from my book LIES That Limit and it will do the trick.  It always work for me.

1.  Look within and analyze the situation you’ve decided to change.  Consider your contribution to your current condition.  Become familiar with the places in your mind where you are split, in discord.  Your mind may say one thing and your emotions another.  Take a relationship that just feels over.  I had one of those.  There were no objective, logical reasons for it not to work.  Yet, in my heart, I was simply finished with it.  My logical mind kept showing me all the reasons why I should stay involved.  Plus I could imagine what others would say about me ending this stable relationship.  Things like, “He’s a good man.”  “You’re being too critical – expecting too much.” “Do you really want to be back out there?”  Yet, emotionally, I was clear, I had to call it quits.  To end the war that raged in me, I worked to resolve my guilt and silence the shoulds and ought to’s in my head.

2.  Reflect on the content of your mind and emotions.  Notice what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling and what you’re saying to yourself and to others.  Look, sense and listen for the LIES – the Labels, Illusions, Excuses and Stories – that are playing out in your thoughts, feelings, conversations and ultimately your actions.  The resulting circumstances of your life give good hints about the content and conflict of your mind and emotions.

3.  Make conscious choices.  Understand your full range of options.  Look for ways to expand the spectrum of possibilities.  When you get your thoughts and feelings – your energy and attitude – in sync with your goal and intentions, solutions and opportunities will show up.  That’s the way the universe works.

4.  Test the sincerity and credibility of your commitment.  Are you fully committed to the choice you’ve made?  Or, does the goal just sound like a good idea, or seem like something you should do because others think it’s right for you?  Is there alignment between your stated goal or intention and your real thoughts, feelings and beliefs?  Do all of your conversations – the ones you think and the ones you articulate – match your goals?  If so, your energy, intentions, head and heart are operating on the same plane.  True self-determined commitment starts with congruent thoughts and feelings.

5.  Hold yourself accountable for achieving your goal.  When you feel yourself working counter to your intention – take full responsibility for getting back on track.  Blame no one, not even yourself.  There is no need to be self-critical or feel sorry for yourself.  If you have a day of failure or forgetting, frustration or fatigue, simply start over.  If your commitment is authentic – truly yours and no one else’s — you’ll find new and creative ways to be faithful to your Self and continue moving toward your goal – toward knowing and living a life that is consistent with the deep urgings of your Spirit.

Get to know the real you. 

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Guest Blog: Choose Wisely

April 10th, 2012

Tommy Hilcken

By Tommy Hilcken, Motivational Humorist & President of the New Jersey Chapter of The National Speakers Association

It’s been a challenging couple of weeks for me spiritually. I have attended 2 funerals in 2 weeks for people I felt were 2 young to die.

As I sat and listened to the sermons and the praises for these people…I leaned over and said to my friend…What would you like it to say on your tombstone? I meant it…what would you like people to say?

It was there, I realized the secret is to decide what you want it to say and start thinking and behaving with that outcome in mind.

One day we will be called to give an account for our life. Your family and friends will do their best to provide the kind of funeral service to best commemorate your life.

If you could choose what you would want on your tombstone, what would you have inscribed there? Would you want it to be some significant word or phrase that best describes the life you have lived? “He/She was the kindest, most helpful, selfless, loving person I ever met.”

Or would you want something rather insignificant like, “Gone but not forgotten” or “Rest in peace”?

The choice is yours. Choose to be significant.

Tommy Hilcken
Motivational Humorist
President of the New Jersey Chapter of The National Speakers Association

SPECIAL NOTE:  After Tommy gave me permission to post this contribution to the LIES That Limit blog, his father passed away on Saturday, March 31st.   Please join me in sending Tommy and his family our condolences and a wish that he only remember the love he shared with his father and all who have recently made their transition.


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Guest Blog: “I” Will Always Be the Center Of Your Universe

March 27th, 2012

By Guest Blogger Kyle Ruffin

“Self.”  The center of your universe.  No matter how selfless you are or how controlled by others you feel, “I” am at the center of everything you know, love, hate, experience.  There’s no denying it.

Some times I find myself wondering if the world is passing me by.  So many others seem to be out enjoying life, making a difference, making millions, getting ahead, being happy.  I read somewhere that we tend to compare our entire selves to other people’s highlight reels.  That sentiment has helped me put life in perspective.

Just because I’m not skydiving at this very moment doesn’t mean I’m not experiencing something that is valuable – valuable to me.  Writing this right now is who I am – I love to write.  Even when I’m giving myself to others, I’m doing it because of what I get out of it – fulfilling a selfish need to contribute to a better world.  A better universe beyond what I can see.

My struggle comes with accepting a new identity – one of caregiver.  I never had the desire to be a caregiver.  People who want and have kids – in my mind, those are loving caregivers.  They live to care for others and it shows.  Since I never wanted to have or never had children, I didn’t see myself as a person with the skills and nature to care for others.  But, that all changed with my mother’s stroke.  Suddenly, I went from independent agent with a thriving career – the person I always saw myself becoming – to having someone depend on me for every basic need.  At 48, I became a parent – a caregiver for someone who could no longer live without being constantly attended to by others.  And the identity I worked on, nurtured, sacrificed for was no longer my primary self-image.  That made me sad.

The struggle with my new role still rages inside of me.  Some days I’m resentful.  Some days I’m frustrated.  Some days I’m angry.  And some days I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished – especially when I make my mother laugh, even though what we’re going through is far from amusing.

The strange thing to me is when others say – you’re amazing for what you do for your mother.  Particularly since I spend every day beating myself up for all the things I don’t do for her rather than taking pride in all the things I do.  Sabatoging my happiness because it doesn’t look like I thought it would.

“I need to be a better daughter,” I recently said to my husband as we were walking down the boardwalk in Atlantic City searching for the place that as a child we ALWAYS bought fudge so I could bring some home to my mother.  He looked at me curiously and said, “You’re not serious, are you?”  Oh yeah…he only sees my highlight reel – not the dialogue in my head or even the many, many moments of great angst that come with this new territory.  And this is the person who most closely witnesses me in my new role.

My ongoing homework is to refrain from denying my “self” – the “self” that is always evolving and that at its core is good.  I have a choice.  I can feel sorry for my latest “self” or I can be proud of my “self” even in roles that I never imagined my “self” in.  “I” am still the center of my universe – no matter what or who orbits around me.

The same goes for the “I” in YOU.

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A Sacred Time

March 14th, 2012

My mother’s body is at a place where each medical specialist, in turn, has said, “There is nothing more we can do.”

For my brother and me, those words are hard to hear, let alone comprehend.  We don’t want to believe them, accept them or live into the story they suggest.  Yet, in truth, as I witness Mom’s energy and being, I see her waning; not gone, but surely slipping further and further away.  I miss her already.

She doesn’t talk much, so we often sit in silence, holding hands.  Every once in a while, usually in response to a question, she’ll say a word or two or three or a sentence.  Those words are priceless, hearing her voice is so precious.

Nowadays, she doesn’t have many needs – no real demands or interests that I can ascertain.  She sleeps a lot, eats very little, is seldom thirsty, and her eyes wander as if she’s watching something or someone that I can’t see.  When she’s awake, I hug her gently and tell her I love her.  I rub her neck and back.  Through touch, prayer and energy, I try to connect and express my love and undying commitment to her care and comfort.

This time in Mom’s life is sacred.  I honor the beauty and holiness of her process.

Mom is strong and tough; she always has been.  Her intellect and will are powerful.  She is spiritually connected.  In fact, she and Jesus are tight!  Because she is secure in her connection to the Divine, I believe she is abiding in peace.  Truly, I have never known her to be more peaceful than she is these days.

Who knows how long Mom will remain in her body.  Who knows what she has left to do.  Certainly, I don’t know.  But, this I do know:  she is engaged in a sacred process.  And, I’m blessed to bear witness to her journey along this holy path.

For as long as Mom remains here in her body, I’ll hold her hand, rub her neck and back, and remind her of the good she has done and the enjoyable times we’ve shared.  And, I’ll sit in silence with her, speaking the wordless language of love and God’s grace.

I love you Mom.  I honor the sacredness of this time in your life…and mine.

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Everything You Need for Your Fantastic Life!

January 10th, 2012

Kate Siner Francis, PhD

Ever wake up wondering, “How did I get here?”  Ever go to bed wondering, “Is this all there is?” Well, if so, now is a good time to change all that!

My colleague, Kate Siner Francis, founder of the Life Fulfillment Formula and the Larger Visions, has a convened an outstanding group of 12 experts to offer you The Your Fantastic Life Telesummit, January 17th through March 6th.  Each hour-long seminar will take you on a journey to significant insights.  I’m one of the speakers, along with a number of other colleagues.  We aim to address your most important questions about how to improve your life and become more empowered.

In this series you’ll learn powerful tools and essential skills that will help you:

    • Be happier each and every day
    • Deal effectively with relationship challenges
    • Free yourself from parts of your past that no longer serve you
    • Learn to be a master of self-care
    • See more clearly how you get stuck and how to break free

And much, much more…

The series is completely FREE! Listen in from wherever you are by phone or computer.  Each workshop will be available for 24 hours after airing.  Be sure to take advantage of the life-changing wisdom that will be shared.

You’ll find the full schedule and all details for this FREE series at

Remember, you’ll hear 12 experts, over 6 weeks, who will help you overcome the obstacles that hold you back from fulfillment and YOUR future – the future you have dreamed of.

Join us for the “Your Fantastic Life” Telesummit.  Sign up at  So that next time someone asks you how you’re doing, you say, in full integrity, “My life is fantastic!  I’m fantastic!“

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The 2012 Resolution Solution: 7 Steps To Lasting Change

January 2nd, 2012

Every year, we make New Year’s resolutions only to make the same resolutions again the following year.  Whether it’s to lose weight, improve a relationship, take better care of our health, exercise, spend more quality time with our kids or aging parents, save more money, or improve our standing in the workplace.  Year after year, for most of us, we resolve to fix the same old problem.  Why is that?  What gets in the way of us achieving our goals, satisfying our resolution?

LIES: Labels, Illusions; Excuses; and Stories.  That’s what gets in the way of goal achievement.  LIES are the thoughts, beliefs and feelings determine our range of choices and define how we behave.

LIES: Labels, Illusions, Excuses and Stories set up unnecessary, false limits.  LIES undermine our belief that we can change; challenge our ability to dream big, or at all; they limit the range of options we see for ourselves.

How do you recognize LIES? They sound like this:

  • I can’t because…
  • I don’t know how to…
  • They won’t let someone like me…
  • I just don’t have the time to…
  • Everybody [feels, thinks, is] that way.
  • Everybody does – sometime.
  • I’ll do it later, when I have more time; not now.
  • When ___ happens, then I’ll be able to…
  • When the kids are older I’ll…
  • That kind of thing happens to other people, not me.
  • That will never happen. Nobody in my family [neighborhood, school, racial or ethnic group] has ever___before.
  • Well, what if…

Setting a goal is like looking at just the tip of an iceberg. What we see and are aware of is a tiny part of the whole thing. We can write it down and make it tangible so that we can look at it and read it.

The issue is what’s beneath the waterline – all the stuff that makes up our attitude and beliefs. And we all know that half of any battle or achieving any goal is our attitude. But what makes up our attitude is so often outside of our awareness. Get that. The stuff that’s really running my show is outside of our awareness. And a good portion of what makes up the base of the iceberg, which is the majority of it, isn’t the truth.

Join me in making 2012 the year of letting go of LIES and practicing the 7 A’s, a process for melting the iceberg; dispelling the LIES in your life, and being accountable for lasting change.

The 7 A’s for Lasting Change

  1. Analyze yourself and your situation. Where am I today? How did I get here? How did I create this? What LIES did I use to construct my world as I know it?
  2. Accept where you are today, without complaint, blame, or shame. You are not a problem, and neither is the situation, really. You’re just at a point where you have a desire for something else. That’s good.
  3. Acknowledge what you want. Be clear and specific about your desire. Write it down, describing it in such detail that you can see it and feel it. Get emotionally connected to what you want, not desperate or begging, just feeling great every time you think about having what you want.
  4. Access Awareness of what you think about this thing or situation you desire; how you really feel when it comes to mind; and what you believe about this thing and your right or ability to have this thing in your life. Note how you feel about the goal or desire; your attraction and fears about it; your resistance to a big YES! What do you think and how do you feel? Write it down. Ask: am I committed?
  5. Allow a range of choices and options to surface, once you’re committed. Think about the choices you’ve identified. Discern which options will lead toward your goal? Consciously choose; mindfully decide which option will serve you best. Imagine yourself using that option. Make your visualization vivid. What are the consequences? Are the consequences aligned with your desire, or do they work against you having what you want?
  6. Act only when you are really ready and have chosen an action that will lead to the consequence you want. You want to think it through and feel it through, the action needs to line up with both your best thinking and best feelings.
  7. Assess the results and reengage in the cycle. The process or cycle is never-ending. It continues throughout your lifetime. The more conscious and aware you are of it, the more success you’ll have achieving your goals and creating change that lasts.

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Want to Make Your Holidays Happy?

December 15th, 2011

Any time you find yourself back in a familiar situation – like celebrating the holidays with your family of origin, in-laws or old friends – you tend to react in familiar ways. Whether you know it or not, you have a well-rehearsed, ingrained pattern of behavior you engage in, and an equally well-honed set of responses to those around you…especially those you grew up around.

When the pattern is constructive, respectful and loving the gathering tends to feel like the blessing and celebration of life it’s intended to be. When there is stress and strain in the relationships, what could be a joyful time is marred by any variety of tension and negativity.

If your experience of holiday gatherings is less than peaceful and enjoyable, this holiday, try something different. Instead of interacting and responding like you have for so many years, make a conscious choice before you leave home, if you’re going to be a guest or if you’re the host, before the first guest arrives, to do all you can to make the gathering a positive, peaceful and enjoyable experience – for you and everyone else.

When you’re triggered by Uncle Joe’s teasing about your bad taste in partners, or your Mother’s comments about why you’re dressed like that, or your sister’s stories about all the money she’s making and the places she’s traveled to, remember your decision – your conscious choice – to make the time together positive, peaceful and enjoyable. In that moment, ask yourself, “Do I really have to respond to what he just said in the way I’ve always responded?” Of course the answer is, “No.” You can look at him and smile, choosing to add a new step to the dance between the two of you with something as simple as, “You know, Uncle Joe, you’re right. I have had some weird partners. Pray that I choose better.” Or, to your sister you can say, and mean, “I’m so proud of you. You must be happy. You’ve worked hard for what you’ve achieved.” Acknowledge the truth in what’s said versus getting hooked by it.

At every turn, when you feel old, familiar, negative thoughts and reactions welling up, ready to burst forth, before you respond, take a deep breath and remember your decision – your conscious choice – to do all you can to add peace and enjoyment to the gathering.

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“I Know!”

December 7th, 2011

Teressa Moore GriffinThe slow moving security line was about 70-people deep. Still uplifted by days in the warm Caribbean sun and blue-green waters, no one complained. Eye contact and smiles were exchanged between strangers. Nods of recognition passed between those who might have seen one another at the hotel, on a beach or at a restaurant. Friends and family members laughed, pleasured by shared stories of a good time. Chatting with my husband, and people watching, I entertained myself as we waited.

Scanning the crowd, she caught my eye…a light, an unmistakable powerhouse. Shoulder length, wavy brown hair, fewer than three feet tall, weighing about 25 to 30 pounds, wearing a sundress with big flowers in primary colors all over it, she was captivating. Pink clog-like shoes were her only accessories.

Traveling with her Mom and Dad, this little one had the full attention of everyone.

As the line advanced, she placed her feet parallel to each other and jumped. She didn’t walk like the rest of us. She hopped like a bunny. Her move forward completed, she said to her Mom, “I love to jump.”

“Yes, you do,” her mother replied, making eye contact and smiling.

Apparently happy, in touch with her desires and preferences, expressive, this young lady seemed free and fully alive.

The line snaked, making the “S” shape crowd control experts use to funnel large groups through tight square footage. A woman who, like me, had been watching and admiring the girl, was now close enough to converse with her.

“Hi there,” the woman said, smiling at the little girl.

“Hi,” she said, leaning forward, lifting her face up to meet the woman, eye-to-eye, her little hand on the rope that separated the two of them.

“How old are you,” asked the woman.

“I’m three.”

Now, here comes the best part.

The woman said, “You’re so cute!”

Without hesitation, self-deprecation or prideful arrogance, the little girl responded simply. “I know!”

Delighted, I laughed. “I know!” Now that’s something else: to be cute and know it.

The mother and father looked at their child, and the woman, and smile. The energy and intentions of the exchange, on everyone’s part, was healthy, heart-warming and affirming; all pure and positive.

Have you ever taken the time to dive deep and explore the energetic impact of exchanges you experienced in your early life? Were you exposed to energy and intentions – words and nonverbals – that affirmed and validated you, or diminished and discounted you? Raised and taught by people who loved us but, often unknowingly, did more to damage our sense of personal power, freedom of self-expression and self-confidence, many of us had the latter experience. But not this young woman.

I asked, “What’s your name?”


Summer has great awareness of the truth of who she really is. She knows that she’s magnetic; captivating; deserves to be the center of positive attention; has a right to free self-expression; can move and enjoy her body; and can agree, out loud even, without shame, when others acknowledge that she is cute. Her beautiful Spirit is visible – free, open and vulnerably expressed. Therein lies her power and charm.

Summer embodies the wonder and magic of the incredible gift she is to the world. Do you? This little one brings joy and light to the world. Her energy and intentions – her thoughts, feelings and beliefs about her self – are aligned. She knows she is good, safe, is here to enjoy herself and others. She knows it and she shows it.

As we moved through the security line – laptops and electronics out and into the tray; shoes, jackets and purse into another, stepping through the scanning machine (luckily no pat-down this time),then collecting just x-rayed bags, redressing, repacking the laptop and electronics, I had a chance to chat more with Summer and her mother, Steph.

“Summer, you were a hit with all these people. You held everyone’s attention. We were all so happy to see you!”

Steph smiled and said, “Everywhere we go, people notice her. It’s always like this.”

And, what did Summer say?

“I know!”

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